Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Entrepreneur: I'd like to start selling on eBay, but don't know where to start. What is the first thing I should do?
Jim Griffith: I recommend getting familiar with the site. The eBay University Learning Center is a great resource for new sellers. It contains a series of videos, tours and tutorials about using eBay. Then I suggest you buy a few small items on eBay to get familiar with the experience (and scope out your competition). Before you can bid or buy, you should be registered--do that as soon as possible. Register for eBay first by clicking on the "Register" link on any eBay page, and then register for PayPal so you can safely pay for your eBay items. This way, when you start selling, you're all set to accept online payments as well.
Entrepreneur: What should I sell?
Griffith: Whatever your source of inventory, it's best to start with something small and simple--maybe something you own that has little financial or sentimental value. Ideally, the item should be something new and easy to ship, preferably in its original packaging.
Entrepreneur: What should I charge?
Griffith: A completed listings search on eBay will reveal what similar items have sold for. Once you decide what to sell, you can find recently sold items to get an idea of the market value and the profit you can expect. Simply click on "Advanced Search" at the top of any eBay page. Enter keywords into the search form, and click the "Completed Listings Only" box. You'll need to sign in since this type of research is only available to registered eBay members. While you review the listings for selling prices, also take a look at the most successful listings (the listings that sold for the most) to see what you like about their pictures, descriptions, starting prices, etc. It will help you when you sell your own item.
Entrepreneur: How do I post my item for sale?
Griffith: Click "Sell" on any eBay page. If you're still unsure of the process, there are several selling-related links on this page. When you're ready to get started, select a format (auction-style or Fixed-Price are the most popular), then click "Continue." A simple form guides you through everything you need to put in your item listing--including photos. Make sure you have one or more digital photos of your item saved on your computer before you start the listing process.
Entrepreneur: How do I know whether my item sold and who bought it?
Griffith: To keep track of the items you're selling, eBay provides you with your very own activity page called My eBay. To view the status of any item you're selling, simply click on the "My eBay" link on any eBay page. Find your item for sale by clicking on the "All Selling" link on the left side of your "My eBay" page. If your item sold and you offered PayPal as a payment option, the buyer may have even paid you already. Then, with PayPal, you can purchase and print shipping labels directly from your "My eBay" page and ship the item.
Jim "Griff" Griffith is dean of eBay Education and is the bestselling author of The Official eBay Bible.