How Much Cash Do You Need To Get Started?

You’ve heard the old saying–it takes money to make money–right? Well, that’s not entirely true with eBay. I made several thousands dollars in profit my first year selling on eBay, and I started with a whopping $0 in cash.

What I did, and what I encourage anyone just starting out to do, is sell items from my own closet that I no longer wanted. I had a cute Anthropologie dress that I bought for my wedding shower about 3 years prior that, after having a baby and one on the way, just wasn’t quite working for me anymore. I was about to send it to Twice, an online clothing consignment store, when I had an epiphany: What if I just sold this myself on eBay?

I had sold one or two things on eBay years before, but I really didn’t know what I was doing. I listed the dress in a 7-day auction with a starting price of $0.99. (I don’t recommend that, by the way!) With seconds left and 22 watchers, the price shot up to around $35. I was so excited, especially considering that I would have probably only made seven bucks or so by sending it into Twice.

anthro dress smocked edited

After that, I “borrowed” $20 from my personal money (since PayPal holds new sellers’ money for a few weeks, until they’re established sellers; I later “repaid” myself from my released PayPal funds) and spent it re-investing in more inventory from the thrift store. I feel like I lucked out at that trip with two items, among others that I bought, that ended up selling for a lot of money–a Matilda Jane adult dress (sold for $46) and an Eileen Fisher organic cotton hoodie (winning bid of $77.88). I kept repeating that cycle of selling and reinvesting a portion of my profit. Today, I spend about $50-$75 a week on new inventory, with a weekly profit anywhere from $150-$400.

Everyone’s strategy and experience will be different. My way is by no means the only way to get started! However, I do recommend starting small; that way you minimize risk and don’t get in over your head. Also, if you don’t have clothing that you think would sell well, you probably have other things lying around that you could make money off of–toys, kitchen gadgets, an old phone–you can sell just about anything on eBay!


6 thoughts on “How Much Cash Do You Need To Get Started?

  1. I’ve been to a GWO once. It was an….experience! I can’t say that I’m dying to go back! It was extremely competitive and stressful. They actually make you stand behind a line while they line up the carts full of product. When they tell you “go” it’s a mad dash of people running into and over each other to get what they want. I was pretty much in shock and just picked through the leftovers. I found a couple of good items but NOTHING like what Maxine finds. Most of what was there was stained or ripped and I found no high end brands at all. Might just be our area (DE) though, because I drool over her finds! 🙂 It’s not for the faint of heart! I much prefer taking my time and browsing through racks of clothes at regular thrift stores, even if it means I pay a little more!!


  2. Pingback: Tools I Use – Dress Form and Camera | Thrift Flipper

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