How to make a living selling used clothing on Ebay
Do you have a passion for fashion? Are you obsessed with clothes and your closet is bursting at the seams? Just admit it! You are a clothes hoarder! I am a self confessed hoarder of clothes and I’m going to show you how you can turn your obsession into profit! Learn how you can actually make a living selling used clothing!
I’ve been selling ebay on and off for over a decade and I have learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way, so many in fact I wrote an e-book about selling ( and few tricks on buying) on ebay here’s a link if you are interested.
Let’s just jump right in
1)Find your niche. Narrow your focus. This is a mistake I made in the early days and I’m sure a lot of other sellers do too. Are you selling baseball cards, shoes and watches?! Stop right there, re-direct your focus. This will save you time and money. I used to frantically be calculating postage or finding huge boxes for larger items. It got stressful and very confusing. What do you know about? What products do you find yourself buying the most yourself? Stick with what you know and love because chances are you will know price points, stay focused, intrigued and which will allow you to be a lot more successful.
2) Decide how much you need to make and the time you can invest. If you only have a couple hours a week to dedicate to ebay then you most likely won’t be able to make $1000 a week or even a month, well unless you find the right niche. More on this later.
For me, my niche is women’s name brand clothing. I have always sold name brand clothing, because, well I love clothes, if I started selling baseball cards for example, I would get bored and burned out quickly since it’s not my specialty or my expertise and I would probably lose money simply because I wouldn’t know how much the cards are worth, which would be detrimental to buying and selling these items.
3)Buy low and sell high. How low can you go? This is the name of the game! If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this phrase… BUY LOW, SELL HIGH! This is something that you will understand and learn about more through trial and error. In my genre, name brand clothing, I try to find things at the lowest price to make the maximum profit. Some of the best places I’ve found for finding re-sale items are yard sales, thrift stores, rummage sales, etc. I’ve had the best luck with church rummage sales because you can usually get things for $1 or $2 a bag on the last day of the sale. Same goes for yard sales, on the last day people really just want to get rid of stuff so they are much more willing to negotiate. Don’t be afraid to tell the sellers that you are a reseller, I find that being upfront and honest about your intensions for the items can help…sometimes. You really just have to weigh the situation and know when to talk and when to keep it zipped. If you frequent a certain store chances are you will get to know the owner or workers and it will eventually come into the conversation. Sometimes this is a very good thing because once they know you are kind of in the same business they are more willing to negotiate. One thrift store owner I know gives me a deal and free items every time I go in. Like 50 an item. I recently went to a school rummage sale on the last day, it was a half hour before they closed. I saw a ton of good name brand clothes that I knew I could flip for a profit. I asked the sellers , “could you make me a deal if I bought a whole box? I’m an ebay reseller.” The lady running the show said, “absolutely! How about all of them for $20”! So I literally bought all of the clothes left, now keep in mind not all of these clothes were ones I was wanting, but I didn’t have time to sort through them, I had my two boys in the car and I figured I could sell some, give some away and donate the rest. Always be on the lookout for deals like this.
4)Know you market and your buyer. Who is your customer? What is your customer into? What are the current trends this customer would be interested in? Let’s take for example, teens. There will always be a market for teen girl clothing. Most teen girls love to buy clothing. Study what your customer would be buying. Research on google and ebay, look at all the current fashion magazines, research key words and think like your targeted customer. Study, learn and grow daily. Be a sponge and learn as much as you can about this industry. I also watch videos on youtube. Youtubers like Pickin’ Profits and Resale Rabbit are good examples of ebayers that know what to buy and how to sell. Dedicate an hour a day to learning the business. Even if that is just reading a few blogs.
The good stuff: So how much can I make?
Let’s talk for a minute about money and unfortunately there will be some math involved in this equation, yes some math humor, I tried. I really hate math, not gonna lie, so I will try to simplify it as much as I can.
How much is your time worth? Only you can answer that question. One person’s time might be worth $10 while anothers time might be worth $100. If you spend one hour on this business how much do you need to make in order to make your time count in that one hour?
Let’s say you make $15 an hour at your full time office job. If you are selling on eBay you probably want to make close to this amount for your time. Now you have to calculate expenses, like how much it costs to buy the items, shipping costs and packaging supplies, as well as ebay and PayPal fees. So here’s a scenario to break things down for you a bit.
You buy a pair of jeans at a rummage sale for $1 you decide they are worth about $30 on eBay after doing a few minutes of research and seeing what other sellers have these jeans listed for you have your price point.
After the cost of the jeans is factored in you will be left with $29. Let’s say $1 for packaging supplies and then $5 for fees. So you are left with $23 so for me that is worth my time.
Now listing a pair of jeans only takes about five minutes so what if you could list 12 pairs of these same kind of jeans or items? Could you do this in one hour’s time? It’s very possible, especially if the jeans where nearly the same you can copy listings to save time.
So if all of the jeans you sold were sold for $30 12x $23= $276. So how’s that for an hour’s worth of work? In my opinion enough to quit your job and make a full time living with ebay. Just think about having five hours per week or even five hours per day.
$276 (one hours work)
$276 x 5 (one week) =$1,380 Could you find five hours a week for an extra $1,380?
My guess is yes!
What if you had an extra five hours a day? You could generate an extra $6,900 a month, probably enough at that point to quit your day job right?
The trick is finding the right items, finding them for the lowest price and consistently listing, the more listings you have going at all times, the more money you will generate.
My advice is start with 100 items on a buy it now auction. Even if you found $10 jeans and they all sold on a buy it now auction that is $1,000 generated (before fees and cost of items) even if you have 100 items that sell on a 3 day auction for the average price of $5 that’s still $500 generated. Can you list 100 this week to make an extra $500? Or even if you do 25 listings a week you would still make $500 extra a month (minus fees). That’s still not bad for a few hours worth of work right?
Even if you are an eBay newbie, this platform is so easy to learn, I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn about selling online. Even if your business outgrows ebay, this is the perfect and simplest platform I know of to get you started and teach you the ends and outs if the business. From sourcing items, to pricing, packaging, shipping, postage, marketing, etc. There are so many invaluable lessons I learned by starting on eBay over ten years ago. I was in my early twenties, 22 I think when I listed my first item. A college textbook, which sold for $53
I’m at the point in my life were I value my time more than money. It’s not that I don’t value money, it’s that I realize my work is worth more, I guess I value myself and my skills more, I’m older and wiser than I was in my twenties, and to be quit honest going through a divorce recently toughened me up and changed the way I work and value my time. When I was in my twenties I was ok with making $10 an hour at a 9 to 5…here’s the thing I learned over the years though.You have to find a way to work smarter not harder. I think a lot of us don’t learn this until we are older and we also decide to start making our money work hard for us rather than working so hard for our money. More on this subject later. This is something that Dave Ramsey teaches. I highly recommend his financial advice and books for anyone struggling in this department.
When deciding to go back to work as a mom, or really anyone going back to work, you really have to focus on the amount it costs you to work for that _ an hour, for me I just interviewed for a seemingly great job part time for supplemental income after realizing they start @$10 an hour, it wasn’t so appealing anymore. I can’t take a job making $10 an hour if I know I could make three times as much or more at home. Here are some factors that I factored in to decide if I could take this job or not.
The number one factor. Childcare. One son will be in school (in August) for summer I would have to pay for two. For one child in my area it’s still $100 a week. The job only pays $250 a week. So just after childcare I’m left with $50, now let’s think about things like gas, food, clothing and taxes.
I would actually be in the red about $100 a month I calculated by taking this jobChild Support. I would be losing about half of this income by taking this job.
All things considered I would be actually making around $4 an hour. Do you think I can make up the difference and bring in an extra $4 an hour? The answer is yes! And you can too!
I’m sorry but isn’t that sad? I wonder how many other moms are in this same dilemma, they want to work outside the home but can’t because they make more money staying home. I guess it is sad but true. This is actually the person I write for, the moms that are in this situation. But that’s ok, because there is hope. There are ways around this problem. Work at home! You can follow my work at home blog bringingmomshome.wordpress.com for more tips and advice.
Just a little food for thought for anyone thinking about going back to a “traditional” job.
More on this subject later, I really feel like this is an important topic!
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I always knew in my heart that I should be working an “unconventional” kind of job, no, not pole dancing or singing on Broadway but *gasp* writing and blogging.
I should have listened to my gut instinct years ago, but instead I pressed on , doing the whole daily grind thing, like a rat on a proverbial wheel.I kept trying to fit into a mold that society crafted a long time ago, like a two year old trying to fit a square block into a round hole ( ok, enough analogies already right?), it just wasn’t working, and I was miserable.
I knew I had a passion for writing, for business and for helping people,with the work I do now, I fulfill all facets of my passions. Sounds amazing right? But wait! Could I actually make money doing what I love I asked myself. It’s not rocket science creating a website or blog it’s easy right? Then comes the challenging part. Growing an audience and monetizing you blog for income.
Let’s take a step back to 2010. After I gave birth to my first son I stumbled across a blog called hip2save.com one day when my two month old was napping.It was out of necessity that I came across this website, because quite honestly I was scared! Let’s be real! I was freaking out! My husband had just lost his job and I was a stay at home mom…we had no income briefly, yes a very trying time in my life and I’ve had quite a few of those. What I’ve learned from the struggles is this, in the most challenging times is actually when we experience the greatest discoveries. When we are tested and backed into a corner, what I like to refer to as ‘sink or swim time’ only then do we have a period of self discovery and growth
Would I be a bloggger had I not went through the challenges? Would my passion be helping moms who are in the same position I once was, probably not.
In the months to come I became so excited about money saving and couponing that I ended up starting my blog mommiesfrugalfinds.blogspot.com (yes it was free, I had no money)
I eventually also wrote a best selling ebook on secret couponing strategies. Here’s the link if you would like to check this out.
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So, that’s how this whole ‘blogging thing’ came about.
Now on to the dark side of blogging
Here are things no one tells you about blogging…
The struggle is real. If you are starting a blog for just income alone, you are in the wrong business.You will not make a living the first month, the second or maybe even in a year. For me it started as a hobby and it was free. Blogging for me was a way to vent and help other moms, it was my creative outlet when my son napped. Sure I wanted to make money with it. I just didn’t have the tools to do it right. In October of last year I decided I would either delete my blog and four years worth of posts, or I would give it everything I had and absorb as much knowledge as I can about this industry. I’ve spent countless hours doing research, watching videos, podcasts, youtube videos, reading my favorite blogs, looking into social media marketing and SEO.
Your blog title is the core of your business. Don’t pick something in five minutes. Think long term. Are you going to hate it five years from now? I do. I wish I would have put more thought into my other blogs title. I was trying to be cutesy and clever, oh yeah, and momsfrugalfinds was taken. So, the name didn’t catch on and now it just looks like I’m illiterate. Think about what your blog is about and don’t have such a narrow focus in mind that you can’t expand and grow. Make sure it tells potential readers what they are clicking on. I kind of wish I didn’t use the word ‘frugal’ in the title too because it kind of gives the impression of someone re-using paper towels and pulling apart 2-ply toliet paper (Tyra Banks does this). Extreme frugality isn’t what my blog is about. It is more about living a good life on the cheap. I still like nice things like designer clothes, I just refuse to pay full price, like ever.While there are a lot of very successful frugal living blogs, it is kind of self limiting.
It’s pretty cut throat. It’s not for wimps.You will be putting yourself out there which opens the door for negativity and criticism. You have to be able to take rude messages with a grain of salt. I just have to remember if someone is taking the time to read my post then they are still making me money in the long run, hater or not.Some people feel so protected by the internet that they can just say anything they feel or they are just bored and want to stir the s$%t pot(who ever stirs licks the spoon right?) Ok that was just wrong.I’m obviously getting so tired right now I’m losing it). You have to understand not everyone is going to agree with what you have to say, and that’s ok. It opens up interest as well as conversation and that’s what you want.
The hours are awesome but they also suck at the same time. What do I mean by this? Sure, you can set your own hours it’s 12:40a.m as I type this so some days (early mornings rather) I can work when my kids sleep which is wonderful…but. Yes, there’s a but and a big one at that. The hours are grueling. You might be working 60 hours a week to get your blog really up and running, to gain followers, set up social media, market social media, design pin and blog posts and still make time for family, friends, cleaning, phone calls, helping out at your sons school, etc. There is just not enough time in my day, ever. I never feel like I got everything done at the end of each day. I always feel like I’m slacking in one area or another. As women we try to be everything to everyone, we just can’t *period*. My son always picks out super woman t-shirts for me when we go shopping, I’m obviously not superwoman but he thinks I am and that’s ok with me. As long as he’s happy, I’m happy. I have to keep reminding myself to slow down and just be present in the moment. Make time. Schedule well and delegate tasks.
It takes money! Yes you can start free but to take it from blog to business it is going to take money! Once I realized this myself and started to put a little money here and there into it. I started seeing progress and gaining momentum. Let me tell you FIverr has been a god send for my business. Using this service has saved me time, money and my sanity.
Sometimes you have to be a b@#ch! Being nice doesn’t get you paid. Don’t devalue yourself by giving too many things away free or trading services. If someone wants your services, set your price, be fair but firm. Once you start seeing value in your work, others will too.
More blogging tips to come! Stay tuned for more helpful insight and a little craziness!