Ok, so I had a minor setback in my journey. Nothing that might derail me or anything. More like a stumble over an uneven sidewalk. Anyone who has walked with me in the city knows that for me sidewalk tripping is -literally- an everyday occurrence.

My setbacks are part of a trial and error process, I tell myself. If I hadn’t ever listed something on Ebay, how would I know how much I dislike using Ebay to sell my stuff? I’m being a little dramatic, but I did have a stumble in my first sale. I listed a set of books from a series. The retail value was $60.00, and I was hoping to get about $20 or $30. I had read that starting your auctions at .99 generates more views and more interest, so that’s what I did. I set a “buy it now” price of $25.00.  Week long auction short, it sold after one bid for 99 cents.

Now, I wasn’t as upset about this as I might have been a few months ago. Although I’d saved them since 9th grade (that’s about 9 years, for anyone who doesn’t feel like doing the math) I wanted the books gone at this point.. Now they’re somewhere in California, maybe a Christmas gift for a kid who could never have afforded them otherwise. But it still irks me. $0.99 + $3.50 s/h doesn’t begin to cover cost of time that it took to list the item, the package to ship it, the gas to get it to the post office, etc. Minimalists like Everett Bogue, Leo Babuata, Joshua Becker, and others have been convincing me that my time is my most precious resource. I don’t want to waste my time. I’m glad that Ms. Anon in California got a great deal on a book she wanted, but if I had known in advance that they were worth so little, I would not have bothered to list them.

So, I mulled over what to do. Obviously, it’s only worth it to list higher value items on ebay. Baker from Man vs. Debt recommends a cut-off price, an estimated value that something has to be worth in order for it to be worth listing it. This estimation, of course, has to come with some education behind it, which is where I failed in my first listing. BUT, I plan to learn from that.

Items that I know tend to sell on ebay, and that can fetch a price of at least $10 might still be listed. Otherwise, I’m going to continue searching for a better, fixed-price venue for my sales venture.

However, for anyone who is using Ebay: don’t forget the more you know the better you’ll do. So here’s my quick bite of advice that I learned from my first failed auction. (And from the advice of more experienced, awesome ebayers that have already done it. Notably, Adam Baker, who is awesome and whose blog I am thoroughly enjoying thank you everyone who recommended it.)

  • Research, on ebay, before you list. Search for your item and see if anyone else is selling/bidding on it. Check completed listings in the sidebar and see if anyone has bought one of your item recently. If the answer to these questions is no (or if it sold for 1.65% of its retail value), you might not want to bother listing it.
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