I’ve been selling on eBay since 1998. Up until 2008, I was married and it worked. My husband paid the bills and my eBay money bought the family groceries and paid for vacations. Because I didn’t need to make a ton of money, I was free to have fun with it and when you can do that, the money flows in easily. Divorced in 2008, I needed to make enough money to survive. I’ve tried 3 times since divorce doing it full-time without another source of income, and failed to make enough money to even pay my bills, much less make a comfortable life.
This doesn’t mean everyone will have this problem. To succeed in today’s reselling world you can’t just have fun with it and sell what you like (which is more my personality). There’s branding, photo shoots in beautiful settings, niches, competition, needing to find items that will sell in a world where everyone is hopping on the bandwagon and more. Economy and what is currently going on in the financial world can affect sales drastically and you need to save for those times but if you haven’t made enough to pay your bills, how can you save?
For me, all of that is complication and stress. I loved it when it was simple and fun. I loved it when you could put an item up for auction and people would bid it up. It was fun going on treasure hunts at thrift stores and yard sales, finding something inexpensive, then selling it for 25X or more what you paid for it (that didn’t happen every time, but it happened frequently enough). Nowadays, if you don’t have something unique or highly wanted, it can be a challenge to make 2X what you paid for it. The thrift stores have all gone up on prices because a lot of them sell online too, and they know resellers are out hunting for items.
All that said, there are people out there making a killing on eBay (or similar platforms, or a combination). Go on Youtube and search eBay reselling and you’ll find them. They’ll show you how to do it. The business is not impossible to make a good living, obviously, but you have to be knowledgeable, motivated and educated in many areas to make it work – not just finding inexpensive items and selling for more. A big savings to back you up is also a good idea.
I am very motivated at doing what I like. For the past 2 years I’ve given up a social life, neglected my home, missed out on fun opportunities due to lack of money and time, went into debt, watched massive Youtube videos educating myself and more trying my hardest to make it work, because I love finding treasures and selling them and I wanted to make a living from doing that. I worked 12-16 hour days listing, shipping, learning & applying. Two years of this and I am now out of resources. I felt my heels digging in and not wanting to give up for quite a while now but there comes a time where you HAVE to make a decision.
The day came where I had to make that decision and I’ll call that a dark night of the soul. I was in complete resistance to giving it up but I had to, or face consequences of bills not being paid. I cried, kicked my feet, felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I prayed. Then the thought came to me that I was resisting and needed to flow with things. My thoughts were directed (by God I believe) to think about how it wouldn’t be so bad going back to my old job where I listed things for sale online and receive a guaranteed paycheck that would pay my bills for giving 8 hours of my time, compared to 12-16 with not enough money to survive and no social or personal time or money. That I’d have a bit of personal time for writing and art, getting my home together and time to socialize again. That I’d be more balanced and stable than what I have been. So that is when I started to flow with things and not feel so horrible about it all.
It’s been about 5 days since that dark night. I’ve re-applied for my old job in hopes that I get it. I’m feeling excited and hopeful for the change. I will still want my freedom with my schedule and want to be self-employed and won’t give up, but for now this is the best decision and I believe it is leading me to my dream. But my dream will not include reselling. I am not cut out for all that it is now. If that is your dream, I encourage you, but know that it is much more than finding inexpensive items to sell for more. Educate, research and prepare. There’s so much competition that you need to have a good plan to succeed. Back yourself up with savings. Taxes can eat up a good portion of your profits – it’s recommended you set aside 25% of your net income for them. Shipping goes up every year – this year, it has went to zonal and it can be $2 to $3 more to ship an item depending on how far the destination is from you.
As I have stated a couple times previously, this is not meant to discourage you. It is more to give you an idea of what the reality of it is and what it takes to make it in the reselling world so you can make the best decision for you. You may love the challenge and being involved in all the areas I mention above. It may be for you – it is for many and they thrive at it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject and answer questions if you have them. Please post your comments below and I’ll respond.
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10 thoughts on “Thoughts from a 21-Year eBay Reseller Giving It Up”
If I were a preacher I would tell you to have faith; not being one I would say it is a positive thing that you see a job only as a source of income. Too often I have seen people looking at the job as as a source of validation, or appreciation of their worthiness, when in fact that sense of self worth should come from within. So I can say that I fully believe you will find a way to solve your problem, I believe you know who and what you are. Have faith in yourself.
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Thank-you so much for your support Alex – I very much appreciate it! Things are looking up today since I have an interview with a previous employer where the job is online selling. I have faith that if it’s meant to be, I’ll get it and be so relieved. Again, thank-you – it means a lot to me 🙂
I know it is a tough situation to be in, as a single person who has to live on one income and support herself, it takes about 2 incomes to have a comfortable lifestyle as a single person, that is truly sad. I know you enjoy doing so many things, I think with your ebay & your current job you will be able to find extra spending money from ebay sales. I think things will look up, and I always admired you. I love ya girl ❤
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You’re totally right. Wish I had opened my eyes to it sooner. I already feel a ton of relief and am looking forward to living life again when I get on my feet financially. Love you too girl
I’ve written on both sides (staff and free lance). Both have their perks, but there’s a lot to be said for steady paychecks and benefits. Blessings on your return to traditional employment.
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Thank-you for the blessings. I’m 2 weeks in and feel much better knowing I have a paycheck coming and benefits down the road. You are so right that both have their perks. Hopefully someday I can find the balance of self-employment with enough income, but for now, this will do and I’m very grateful for it. I appreciate your comment!
Very Good! Smart woman! God bless you
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