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There is no end to the variety of items you can sell on eBay. Just go to and type any item you can think of into their search box and the chances are you will be rewarded with a list of dozens if not hundreds of auctions for the very item you searched for.

Over the yearsour family has sold exotic wood from a hardwood shop we owned, sports cards, various collectors dolls and figurines, my research services, magnetic jewelry, lots and lots of used books, and all kinds of household items, toys, and clothing that we no longer wanted or needed from my eBay auction site.

Outgrown children’s clothing and maternity clothes are usually snatched up for a good price, and I have a friend who sells several hundreds of dollars a month worth of used books from her eBay auction site.

Whole books have been written about how to profit from selling on eBay, so I’m not going to attempt to give you every little detail about becoming a millionaire as an eBay seller. I just hope to convince you that eBay is a viable place for you to earn some extra money, and to explain the basics of how you can get started. How much you earn, once you are an eBay seller, will be up to you and to the effort and time you are willing to invest.

Interested? Then here are my suggestions for testing the market without investing a penny of your own money. If, after giving it a try, you are still interested, you might want to invest in one of the books I mentioned earlier to see how to make your site even more profitable-perhaps so much so that selling on eBay can turn into a full-time job for you.

1. Go to and sign up for an account

An eBay account is free and only takes a few minutes to sign up for. Be sure to read their rules so you will know what fees they will be deducting for listing your items and for the final sale fee. Don’t panic-these fees come out of the sale price of your items-not out of your pocket. The rules will also let you know what items may not be sold on eBay auction sites. This shouldn’t bother you as they have very few restrictions. There are millions of things that you can sell so you won’t even miss those that are restricted.

Spend some time reading the information eBay supplies on how to list your auctions, how to handle your buyers, how to set up the My eBay page which appears at the top of your auctions, etc.

2. Next, get a free Paypal account

When I first signed up with eBay, people could choose how they wanted to pay you-money orders, personal checks, credit card, Paypal, etc. Now all transactions are handled through Paypal so, if you don’t already have a Paypal account, wander over to and sign up for your free account there and you will be ready to get down to business-your own eBay auction business.

3. Start with things you already have around your house

Everyone owns things they no longer use or need; things that might be very welcome in the homes of your potential customers on eBay. Gather these items up, make sure they are in good condition, and take a picture of each item with a digital camera. If you already have one, great; if not, get someone you know to lend you one or to shoot a few pictures for you.

4. Learn how to list your items

At the top left side of your auction page, click on the word, “categories.” From the list that comes up, click on a title similar to the first item you plan to list on your auction page. This should bring up a whole list of auctions already underway for the item, or items.

Study a number of these auctions carefully to see how other people are doing it. Ask yourself things like:

What kind of title did they use?

Did it attract my attention?

Did they include a picture of the item?

Was the picture clear enough to show details?

How do they describe the item?

Did they leave out information you would have wanted to know?

Was the item listed as a regular auction for people to bid on, or with a set price as a “Buy it Now” auction?

Was the asking price reasonable?

What methods of shipping were offered?

Were the shipping costs reasonable?

Was there any guarantee?

Did the seller have a high number of sales, or was he or she just starting out?

Was there any negative feedback on the site?

5. Move back to your auction page and click on “Sell”

I love this part of the auction process. You can be as creative as you like as you follow the steps eBay will provide you for listing your auction. You will be offered a lot of different options such as a sub-heading, bold print, or a border around your auction, but each of these add to your cost so avoid them until you get the feel of the place. Then you can test these things one at a time and find out whether or not you feel they are increasing your sales.

You will be offered several choices about the length of time you want your auction to run-unless it is a “Buy-It-Now” item. I prefer 7 days, but you can test the 3 day and the 10 day option on an item or two and see how each time period works out for you. You can also choose what day of the week you want your auction to begin and end, and at what time of the day.

When you are finished listing, check your auction carefully to make sure there are no spelling errors, or misinformation. If you do find something wrong, there is a revise button that can be used up until you have your first bidder, so be sure to get it corrected as soon as possible.

If you are listing more than one item, you can go back to the “Sell” button and repeat the process with new information as many times as necessary.

6. Now, sit back and wait for the bids to start coming in.

If you are like I was when I first started selling on eBay, you will be signing in every hour or two to check for bids. This really isn’t necessary, but neither should you ignore your auction until the 3, 7, or 10 days are up. There are 2 reasons for this.

First of all, if, after several days, you haven’t received any bids, you may want to go in and revise your title, or your description a bit to make it more appealing to bidders.

The other reason is that eBay gives its bidders the option of asking questions of the seller. If a potential bidder asks you on day 1, how wide the picture frame you are selling is, and you don’t get around to answering him until day 6, he may have lost interest in your item by then. (Of course, in such a case, you should have mentioned the size of the frame in the description, but sometimes things like this get by us.)

7. Your item sells: what do you do next?

That first sale is exciting, but you still have some wrapping up to do.

First, notify the seller by e-mail that they are the winner of your auction and thank them for bidding. eBay has an invoice form you can fill in with the final bid price, the shipping and handling charges, and the total price, or, if you prefer, you can make up your own letter for contacting your auction winners.

When the winner responds, by making payment, write again, thanking them and telling them that you will be posting a positive feedback to their eBay account, and that their package will be posted on such and such a day. Add a comment about how you hope they will be happy with their purchase, and that you would appreciate a positive feedback from them after they have received their (shirt, picture, toy, or whatever they bought),

So far I have a high approval rate on my eBay auctions, and I believe that prompt shipping is one of the major reasons why. I try to ship the day after the auctions ends whenever possible. My customer feedback almost always mentions prompt shipping, or friendliness, so try to work those into your business whenever possible.

Well, that’s how easy becoming an eBay seller is. It does take some work, especially if the items you are selling are all different so that individual pictures and descriptions have to be created for each sale. It won’t be long before you run out of miscellaneous articles around the house and decide to purchase some identical, easy-to-package items and give them a try. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find something that you feel is a good value for your customers, as well as being something that gives you a good return for your cost and time involved. And if you really want to get into eBaying in a big way, go take a look at eBay store opportunities. (See note below.)

(Note) eBay also has online stores available for a monthly fee. Some people start out by getting a friend to go into building a store with them, making it less costly for each person and assuring that there will be enough products on your store site to make it worthwhile. Items can be listed in an eBay store for a much smaller fee than in regular auctions. If this sounds like something you would like to pursue, go to and check out their stores.