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Beat the Summer Doldrums

People may be on vacation, but your eBay cash flow doesn't have to be.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many eBay sellers rue the start of summer. Sales traditionally slow when everyone wants to spend more time outside. Although we'd love to see it happen, the holiday sales craze can't last all year.

But don't completely write-off the season. Summer is the time for expanding your products and selling the types of items that people look for when the weather gets hot.

Since eBay is all about the hard-to-find, perhaps you've "found" some items in your sales trips that particularly lend themselves to a summer theme, such as swimwear, barbecue items, picnic goods, sports equipment and even portable misters. Stores in my area (Los Angeles) have already started closing out brand name swimsuits and summer wear--and summer has barely started. Go to those sales, buy the brands that sell on eBay and start making more profits.

If you have a state sales permit (remember you can't buy true wholesale without one), go directly to some of the liquidation sites on the web. Visit the legitimate wholesalers, too. I recently logged into my account at to check out some summer-themed items. I immediately found three items that I could have sold on eBay and doubled my money, based on completed auctions. It's not hard. Just do your homework and don't expect someone to do it for you.

This is also the time, if you followed my advice last season and bought the sport closeouts for baseball and golf, to launch those items on eBay. I checked out things like Mizuno baseball gloves and found that closed-out items from last season are selling for close to retail price today on eBay. You just can't miss opportunities like this.

As you know, unlike other experts, I don't try to sell you something every time I give advice. What I want you to do is use the wisdom you already have and take charge of your cash flow by developing your "eBay eye" for new goods. Look during every waking moment. You get flashes from watching TV and even listening to your kids. (Perhaps it's time to look for a wholesale source for iPhone accessories.) Keep your eyes open.

If summer sales are a bit slow, why not look to the fall and even winter? Look for going-out-of-business sales. You're not the only one with slow sales in summer. Fortunately, you don't have a huge overhead to cover each week. For example, the Gap-owned Forth & Towne--the chain's competition for Ann Taylor stores--just went out of business. Savvy eBay sellers should have swooped in and bought like crazy. Merchandise was selling very low, and from the looks of sales on eBay right now, sellers are making a pretty penny on their purchases. If you're lucky, you'll find a store whose entire stock you can purchase, giving you enough merchandise of a similar theme to carry your sales for an entire year.

Also be sure to stay on top of eBay's daily changes. By joining the eBay Announcements group, you can get the lowdown before other sellers. As a member, near the end of each business day, you'll get an e-mail from eBay containing a copy of all the posts from the announcements board for that day. That means you'll know about eBay promotions a night before anyone else--even before eBay sends out its notices to sellers. This will help you be a savvy seller, stay on top of your game and not have to rely on junk mail to know what's going on with the site.

Just click on the "Community" link in the eBay navigation bar and then the "Groups" link. Search eBay announcements, and you'll find the group home page. You can join right there.

Marsha Collier, a successful eBay PowerSeller, is's "eBay" columnist as well as the author of the bestselling eBay references,eBay for Dummies andStarting an eBay Business for Dummies.