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.
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!