Wednesday, July 23, 2014

ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: How can eBay be my full-time job?

By SUZIE EADS, Ask the eBay Queen | 3/7/2014

Dear eBay Queen: I’ve been selling for a couple of years, and I’m trying to figure out how I can make this a part time job with full-time income. My husband thinks all I do is spend money and time on other people’s e-books, podcasts etc.

Are there any tips you can give me? — KJT

Dear KJT: There is a ton of information out there, and if you are not careful, it could make you poor not only in the wallet but also rob you of time. You really do not need to buy every single e-book that comes out. Just focus on what really applies to you, and what you will be able to benefit from. Take what you learn and to apply it to your business, otherwise it is a waste of time and money.

Another time waster is Facebook, not just on your own timeline, but you can get lost for hours in eBay groups. There are a lot of Spreecasts, radio programs and podcasts you can listen to — unless you are working while you are listening to them, they will drain all of your time.

When seeking advice from experts, make sure they are currently selling on eBay and are really doing what they profess to be experts in. I have found that if I focus on finding great product to sell at a good price, I don’t need anything else.

Dear eBay Queen: I read an old column you wrote several years ago about free shipping. I wanted to give you my take on it. I am up in the air when it comes to free shipping on heavy items. I once sold a vintage cast iron pot with free shipping. (Built into price.) I did the free shipping because I thought this was a sure thing to not be returned. She said it was too small for what they needed for camping (hubby wanted it bigger). She paid to ship it back and was very gracious about the whole thing, but I was out almost $30 because I had to refund full amount. How do you handle that?

I have a pair of boots on eBay that have sold twice. The first time, I had free shipping and had to eat the cost when she returned them for fit reasons. The second time, I added shipping costs and when they returned for fit reasons again, it didn’t hurt. My advice is to add shipping to high-risk-of-return things like clothing where there is a huge chance there will be a fit issue no matter how well you measure. I buy clothing on eBay all the time and I am guilty of not checking measurements. I never return though because I know I can resell and don’t want to put the seller out because I was slacking. I figure if I wanted it enough to order it, someone else will too.

I am all about customer service and take my hits like a big girl, but I now charge for shipping on most items. I have added a few promo items with free shipping and about to add some more to draw customers to certain sections of my store. This is business and I just don’t see the benefit to anyone if we go out of business because we lose too much money on high-risk-return items like clothing/shoes. I, for one, am a small peanut store, and can’t afford to take constant hits on return shipping cost due to fit issues. I could easily be nickel and dimed out of business. 

I also always refund overage if I overestimate shipping cost or find a cheaper way to ship with the same quality. Do you think I’m doing this all wrong? — Leanne

Dear Leanne: I think you are doing a fantastic job taking care of your business. We all have to do what is best and works for us. I offer free shipping on 99 percent of my items, and when the buyer returns it, I return the shipping. I consider it the cost of doing business. Thanks for sharing how shipping is working in your business.

Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 370969450077. This Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent. I found this interesting find from the Vatican on eBay: “Papal Bulla of Pope Pius VI 1799 Bull of Crusade Document Indulgence During Lent.” It sold for $152.50 at http://www.ebay.com/itm/Papal-Bulla-of-Pope-PIUS-VI-1799-BULL-OF-CRUSADE-Document-INDULGENCE-During-LENT-/370969450077?

Suzie Eads is a nationally known eBay marketer and eBay trained education specialist. She lives in Rantoul. Have a question for the eBay Queen? Email the eBay Queen

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