eBay is a numbers game. There's a direct correlation between the number of items I have listed and the amount of money I make each month. Last year, my inventory doubled. A short time later, my profits doubled. Once you've identified products that sell and are relatively easy to source, it's up to you to make things happen.
But it's easy to get distracted and waste time when you're working for yourself. Being organized and efficient is extremely important. The following techniques will help you stay on track!
First of all, if you sell one-of-a-kind items, group similar products together, and photograph them all at once. I sometimes take pictures of several pairs of shoes that don't need to be researched, all in one photo session. If I've sold a shoe before, I already know how much it's worth, and the listing process goes quickly. I can list about nine pairs of shoes an hour.
To speed things up, you might also want to use a timer to keep yourself on track. Give yourself a certain amount of time to list X-number of items. Knowing you have a time limit will prevent you from leaving eBay or your listing site to shop online or answer e-mails.
In addition, set aside time to list. Some people like to list three days a week. Some like to list a certain number of items every day. Figure out a plan that works for you and stick to it.
Save frequently used listing information as a template or 'profile,' from which to build listings
The right tools can help
Another great way to save time is to create templates or "profiles" for items you sell again and again. You can do this by saving frequently used listing information in a document, or through a listing service like Auctiva, which allows sellers to create an unlimited number of profiles. I have a wide variety of templates for the different types of items I sell on a regular basis.
For example, I have a template for men's shoes and a template for women's shoes. These timesavers include information about my shipping and return policies as well as links to my store, About Me page and newsletter sign-up. Using templates definitely increases my efficiency.
Get more bang for your buck
Hiring a reliable helper to power-list items that you sell often is another great way to be more efficient. Recently, I asked a very responsible 14-year-old to help me with my eBay business. She's about to start high school, so she'll be with us for the next four years!
I have put her in charge of listing a few of the $9.99 products I sell on a regular basis. These are the products that are easy to find and easy to sell. She photographs items and makes minor changes to the titles and descriptions of the templates I've created. I only need to sell one of the five or six items she lists per hour to pay her wage. So this will be a great way to increase profits and save time.
Finally, consider adding wholesale items to the mix. Attend a wholesale show or investigate online wholesale companies. Identify products that no one on eBay is offering. Be sure the items are not only unique but easy to market.
Take the time to create videos for these listings. Also, take the time to create quality listings when selling products purchased at wholesale. Listing one wholesale item could bring in hundreds of sales.
Focusing on efficiency will help you grow your business and achieve your dreams. Try these techniques to make the most of each and every day!
For more tips on selling efficiently, read Selling More Efficiently, Part 2.
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Miriam Otto is an eBay educator, based in Northern California. Miriam sells more than 500 items per month on eBay, and finds most of what she sells at yard sales and thrift shops. When not teaching eBay classes or running her business, she enjoys writing about her latest "scores" on The eBay Life blog. In addition to living "The eBay Life," Miriam works as an independent study teacher helping adults earn high school diplomas.
Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.