Work That Works For You: Selling Online

This is the final installment in our series, Work That Works For You. Here are the other things we’ve discussed:

Teaching Music Lessons

Writing and Blogging

Home Party Business

Hobby, Passion or Both?

What to Expect When Working From Home


Work that Works for You selling online


This post is really only edited by me. All content credit goes to my husband. Besides being the main wage earner for our home with a full-time job, he also runs a part-time selling business from our home. His work-at-home venture is more profitable than all of mine, so he is the real expert. Here are his tips for beginning a business reselling products online:

First of all, let’s be clear about what we mean by selling online. While we’ve previously addressed selling your own products or being an affiliate marketer on your own blog or website, this is different. By selling online, we mean buying products at a low cost and reselling them on sites like eBay or Amazon.

While both sites sell new and used items, we have found that eBay is best for reselling used items and Amazon is preferred if you want to sell a new item. Our dealings have been mostly with eBay and used items, so keep that in mind as you read.

Find a product.

Many people think they can just put Grandma’s antique quilts and random household items on eBay and make a nice profit. While some of these items will sell, online sales do not have to be a game of chance. Research carefully to make sure the item you want to  sell is actually a popular product. After you are done researching, go research some more. You can find out what items are selling and how much people are paying for them.

A common mistake people make is overestimating the worth of the product. Just because you really like something does not mean that someone halfway across the world will think it is valuable. Of course, the reverse is also true. If something is plentiful or not very sought after in your part of the country, someone from another country may be willing to pay quite a bit for it.

Make customer service a priority.

The cliche “the customer is always right” is very true when selling online. The only credentials you have to offer are your reviews. Just one or two bad reviews can turn away business. Be very careful to describe your product correctly and to ship right away. Always do what you say you will do and try to over deliver if possible.

Be prepared for the cost.

A site like eBay provides a worldwide market for your product. If you were to set up your own website, it would take you months to drive traffic to your site and to establish yourself as a trustworthy seller. With eBay, you already have the traffic and the trust established. Expect to pay for this service. You will have fees for advertising and PayPal. Factor in these costs when purchasing and repricing your product to make sure you will still make a profit.

Take setbacks in stride and move on.

As prepared as you are, you will likely have an item returned at some point. Try not to take it personally. Resolve the issue quickly, remembering that customer service is crucial in this business. Deal with customers and eBay personnel as politely as possible. Instead of letting frustration build, simply use that as momentum for the next sale.

Do you sell items online? Has it been a good experience or bad? Any additional tips?