It is very important to have multiple income streams. I do some affiliate marketing, I own a print on demand (POD) Shopify store, I own mobile and desktop apps as well as Shopify Apps. Last month I decided to add eBay as another income stream.
There really wasn’t a ton of planning or forethought involved. I was bored and started looking at some listings on eBay. If you did not know, eBay lists the quantities sold for buy it now listing. Seeing that people were selling hundreds or thousands of items pushed me to determine what they were paying for those items and what their profit margins could be.
After running numbers on several items, I felt that the margins were good enough to give eBay a try. I purchased about 13 items on Alibaba.com, mainly small items that I could ship in bubble mailers. I stocked up on bubble mailers and I got a shipping account with Stamps.com.
I started selling on eBay April 21st, 2019. By the end of the month I sold 60 items and I made $188.16 in sales. My profit was a laughable $46.12. The best thing was that my profit margin was 24.51%. That means $10K in sales a month could bring me a $2,500 in profit. $20K in sales could mean $5,000 in profit.
I will mention that even though I had a profitable month, my overall eBay business is unprofitable at this moment.
What I learned my first month buying from China and selling on eBay
It takes a lot of time to find good stuff to sell.
You have to research what other people are selling. You have to calculate what you can make if you sell the item at the same price. You also have to reach out to suppliers and see what price you can get the items for.
I have run across many listings that post one price then when you contact them they try to charge you more. I have got had people try to overcharge on shipping and when I ask them about it they say they made a mistake then give me a more honest shipping quote. Dealing with suppliers is a game. After buying 13 items I have a better idea of how to play it.
Electronics may not be worth the risk
I bought 100 units of an electronic item. The first one I tested burned out and stopped working with 24 hours. The second one I tested over a few days worked fine. I still wasn’t convinced of the quality so I tested a third. It worked fine for a few days, then it started to catch fire. I have not listed the item and I do not plan to sell it, I am not trying to kill anyone. Going forward I may avoid electronics.
You can make good profit margins on eBay
The last time I bought stuff wholesale to sell on eBay was in 2003-2004. Back then I bought from US sellers and I did not do any research on how many units others were selling or what profit margins I could make. That business went down in flames real quick.
That negative experience had me thinking for years that eBay wasn’t worth the time. I was completely wrong. I made 24.51% profit on eBay last month. I am sure I can increase that margin with some pricing tweaks and bundling products to increase my average order amount.
You have to sell a lot of stuff to make good money
Some people on Amazon have one product for sale that is making the $10,000 or $20,000 a month. On eBay you are more likely to see a seller with 10,000 products for sale than you are to see someone making $10,000 a month from one product.
Is selling on eBay it worth the time and effort?
I am not sure if this is a good long term income stream. Many of the items I sell on eBay cost less than $7. I could pull in a decent profit of $2,500 if I sold $10,000 worth of stuff, but that is a lot of items to pack and ship just to make $2,500. In addition, I don’t want to have 300 or 400 different products all around my house just to make a few thousand bucks.
The first 13 items I purchased to sell on eBay were random items that I saw other people were making money from. In the future I need to be more selective about what I sell. I need to focus on products that can make me a certain amount of money each day. I need to look for items that can make me a consistent $30 to $50 a day. That would make it easier to get to that $10k a month mark without having to sell 500 different items.
Goal for next month
May 2019 will be my first full month selling on eBay. My goal is to make $1,000 in revenue. I hope to have a similar of higher profit margin than I had in April 2019 which was 24.51%.