New blog – Hi all today I thought I’d write about the new reselling business I’ve launched on eBay. You see I’ve talked in the past about my desire to launch an online business and now I’ve finally done it! It’s not the one I originally planned to launch (which was a t-shirt and clothing business selling my own designs as part of a Money Mental clothing line) although that is an idea I may return to in the future.
Instead of late I’ve been reading, viewing and hearing a lot about a concept called ‘reselling’. This has been prompted by the fact that over the last couple of months I’ve been off work ill as I’ve been having daily anxiety attacks which have inhibited my ability to work in the high-stress deadline driven environment I normally work in. I’ve also got a suspected diagnosis of Asbergers which I’m exploring as well to find out what that means for me. So as I’m sure you’ll agree there’s been a lot going on!
Anyway, all of this has made me realise that I need a ‘plan B’ to support myself if my anxiety levels continue to remain high. Something that I can manage from home with a defined structure and routine. So in my search for various different options, I came across a website called ‘Adventures in reselling’ (you can find it by clicking here). It’s a website run by a couple called Nic and Andrea Hills. I then discovered that they also have a youtube channel (you can click here to access it). Youtube being what it is the algorithms that run it then started recommending other youtube channels and videos run by other UK based eBay resellers and soon I was consuming vast quantities of content. In the last couple of months I’ve learned that there’s a lot of money to be made selling clothing and collectable toys.
This reminded me of a conversation I once had with my friend Owen when we came across a market store selling a large range of vintage toys about how if I ever got made redundant from work my dream job would be sourcing and selling vintage toys. I already have some knowledge in this area as I have a collection myself of things like Star Wars toys, Star Trek toys, Hornby trains and various other bits and bobs.
So after watching these videos of other people making a success of buying products to sell on eBay, I thought why not give it a go? I taught myself about sourcing stock for the business (basically car boot sales, auctions, charity shops and local selling groups are great!), how to use eBay’s search functionality to establish what items have sold and how much for (using new lingo to me such as ‘sold and completed’). I also learned that most of the clothing I buy from eBay is probably sourced from charity shops so I’ll be doing a follow up to my earlier blog about buying clothes on eBay (which you can find here).
With some trepidation, I started to amass stock. Just a few items here and there before getting braver and purchasing a lot more! (I now have a garage and a spare bedroom full of stock!). I continued to do lots of research into eBay and realised that I’d need to open up a separate business account to sell everything that I had amassed for resale. So, again with some trepidation, I set up a moneymentaluk business account on eBay to use for my reselling activities.
Now the problem with setting up a new business account on eBay is that even if you have a personal account in good standing your feedback from your personal account doesn’t carry over to your business account. So it starts with a feedback rating of zero. It takes a brave person to buy something on eBay (especially for the kind of fees I charge) from a business that has no feedback so to counter this I spent a few weeks using my business account to buy items I’d need for my business, such as packaging supplies, so that I could start to build up my feedback.
Once I’d hit a feedback rating of 10 (all at 100%) the time came to list my first item for sale on eBay. Again more trepidation ensued. What should I list first? I’d already decided I wanted to set up an eBay shop (as if I’m doing something I’m going to do it properly!) because I always view business sellers who have an actual shop as being more professional and also because given that I wanted to sell a large amount of stock I needed a shop to keep my eBay fees down (on a business account each listing costs £0.36 – there’s no free listings for businesses!). However, I couldn’t set up a shop until I had my first item listed for sale. Not sure if this was because of a glitch with eBay or if it’s to make sure sellers are bonafide in their intent.
So after thinking long and hard about what my first item should be I decided to list a Basil Brush plush (what we called a soft or cuddly toy in my day) that I’d picked up for 99p that day. I put him up for sale, with my 36 pence listing fee and some photos of him from various different angles and a description that focussed on the fact that he was quite rare as he was the only one on eBay. I then waited a day or two and watched via eBay as he started to get some views.
Needless to say Basil didn’t sell straight away. But he served his purpose in helping me understand how to list items on eBay and how to specify things like postage options (which I didn’t realise you had to do when listing stuff for sale on eBay until Basil went on!). So I decided to try and see if I could now open up an eBay shop and to my surprise, I could! The reselling journey was underway and the Money Mental clothing and curios store was open!
But what should I put in my shop next? Well, gathering dust on my shelves were a couple of Star Trek collectibles that were out of stock everywhere. So I decided to put these up next. I put them up for quite a high price (£50 each). I also had heard about something called GSP on eBay. GSP stands for Global Shipping Programme and basically means that my products can be offered to eBayers worldwide. If a buyer from another country buys one of my items then I simply send it to a distribution centre in England (with me only paying standard domestic shipping costs) and eBay will ship it off across the world and will charge the buyer separately for these additional shipping costs. It’s a great feature for those dealing in rare collectibles such as myself as it means I’m now running a global business!
Before long I had my items listed and accessible to the global market. But I still had no buyers :-(. So I started listing a few more items and then success! I had a purchase order for a PC game I’d listed (Assasins Creed 3 for those interested – bought for 99p and sold for £9.99). And then suddenly I started getting offers and an order from abroad on my Star Trek collectibles. Finally, my reselling career was underway. And the profit on the 3 items I’d sold had covered the cost of my eBay store fees as well (currently £25 a month).
I’m still in the early days with the eBay store. Basil sold the other day for his full asking price. I’m also discovering that DVD box sets seem quite popular (but only ones that have every season of a TV series) so have sold a couple of these of late. At the minute I sell 1-2 items a day. My aim is to hit 20 items a day in order for me to generate the income that I would need to consider reselling full time. I’ve also learned a few lessons along the way as follows:
- Weighing and measuring packages before shipping them is vital to get the best price on postage. I’ve had a couple of items where looking back I’ve overpaid on postage because I didn’t realise that Royal Mail has two different prices for large letters based on the weight of a package. I still made a decent profit but it’s a lesson I’m glad I’ve learned early on as it’ll help save me money in the future.
- Tape guns don’t work in the way I think they do and don’t come with instruction manuals. After bleeding profusely over a couple of parcels I finally went on youtube to learn how to use mine properly. Packaging is now a much less bloody process!
- eBay and PayPal fees are crazy. But offering payment via PayPal attracts a lot more buyers. But you do need to think about these costs before buying anything for resale. Picking something up for a £1 and selling it for £3 or £4 on eBay won’t get you any kind of profit at all once you take into account eBay and PayPal fees, especially if you offer free shipping.
- Offering free shipping helps push your product up the eBay listings/rankings so that it gets shown to more viewers. I’ve run tests where I’ve listed the same items with free shipping at a higher price and at a lower price but with shipping as an extra cost and I got a lot more views on the free shipping item even though it cost more! It also sold quicker.
- It can take ages for things to sell on eBay. Basil was up for weeks before he sold. I’d actually forgotten about him and so was shocked when he sold!
- Putting items on eBay as buy it now rather than for auction generates more orders and bigger profits. I’ve seen the same products I’ve been selling go for less than half the price of what I’ve sold them for at auction so I don’t list anything for auction as a result.
- In order to generate sales you have to list items for sale on eBay every day. The eBay search engine will list products higher up in its search results from sellers who are regularly active (i.e. list a lot of stuff). And most buyers are lazy and don’t look past the first couple of items so it’s vital to be high up on the search results. I’ve heard that if you list five items a day you’ll be ok but I’ve found it’s more like ten items a day.
Anyway there’s loads more info I could share about my experiences reselling on eBay but I’ll save that for another day.
Thanks for reading and hopefully if you’re considering reselling as a way of raising extra money then I hope some of what I’ve shared above has been useful for you.
If you have any feedback on what you’ve seen and read please comment below and follow me on twitter, instagram and youtube by searching for moneymentaluk where you’ll find more about my reselling journey!