Online auctions expert Jason Butler shares his tips to making $25 an hour with the eBay seller side-hustle
Making money on eBay is a great opportunity for anyone looking to invest his or her free time in the hope of making money without having to ask another person for help.
You can start earning money on eBay by selling an item you no longer need. If you have old books, movies, CDs or other items that aren't needed (or wanted) anymore, you can list them on eBay for a profit . You'll also be helping someone else out by giving them the opportunity to find something special they might not otherwise have been able to afford.
If you are looking for ideas about what kind of items might sell well on eBay, take a look at some recent auction winners. When auctions end and sellers receive payment from successful buyers, some will use their e-bay feedback page to describe why people bought the item. This information is usually helpful when deciding what type of items to put up for sale – even popular ones like these obviously turn over on eBay quite quickly, so the next person to receive them as a gift or inherit them may be looking for an alternative.
Simply listing items on eBay won't automatically make you money, but it will give those who are interested in your products (or want to resell them) access to your inventory. From there, they can bid on the item and hopefully pay more than you paid for it originally – that's how you make money! This is also a good way to get rid of things that have been taking up space in your home.
I’ve had a lot of success selling books on Amazon, averaging just under $2,000 a month, but have lately thought about diversifying my income with another side-hustle.
Amazon FBA has become popular over the last few years, but I recently met a blogger selling on eBay and his strategy immediately intrigued me. Far from an auction site of the past, eBay is still doing billions in sales and eBay sellers are making solid cash.
To get his insight into selling on eBay, I reached out to Jason Butler for his tips on how to be successful.
In this exclusive interview, Jason shares how he got started selling on eBay and some tips to make money in your spare time. I’ve transcribed the interview below so watch the video or you can read the transcription.
The video is part of our expert interview series on the Let’s Talk Money YouTube channel. I’m bringing you the very best experts in beating debt, making more money and making your money work for you. Click through to check out the other interviews and subscribe free to the channel.
Joseph: Today's interview is with Jason Butler. Now Jason graduated from Savannah State in 2008, which was a great year to graduate and be joining an amazing job market. Needless to say, the opportunities were a little disappointing.
Fast forward a few years and he realized that he needed to get serious; he needed some direction. He had over $60,000 in debt and couldn't live the life he wanted. So he started the Butler Journal to document his debt payoff, talk about travel, which is one of his passions, and to share different side hustle ideas.
Now one of the Jason's side hustle ideas is selling on eBay. I met him at a financial bloggers conference last year and I remember thinking at the time, “Really, eBay? Is that still a thing?”
But then I read his November income report where he said he's made almost $500 on the strategy in that one month alone. So there's definitely something there and I wanted to get his insight in the topic.
Jason, thanks for being with us, offering your insight into selling on eBay.
Jason: Thank you for having me.
Why Sell on eBay versus Amazon?
Joseph: I think one of the first questions people would have is, “Why eBay versus maybe selling on Amazon?”
Jason: I like the fact that eBay actually offers 50 free listings for your first month; well, actually 50 free listings every month. With Amazon, you have to either pay $0.99 per listing or you have to pay $39.99 each month for a store.
I actually list between 70 to 100 items each month. I get those first 50 listings and about 2 weeks into each month, they always send promo emails. I received the promo email last week that gave me an extra 100 free listings for a month. So I was able to get 100 extra listings and add some more items.
Now, I'm not over a hundred yet but I still have some free listings if I wanted to list some more things this month.
Joseph: So it sounds like eBay is really trying to work with its community, as opposed to Amazon which has plenty of plenty of traffic, plenty of sellers and really aren't reaching out that much.
How Much Can You Make Selling on eBay?
Joseph: What's the selling potential on eBay? How much can you make really with the eBay strategy versus maybe other side hustles like blogging? Is there an average that you make maybe per month or per hour selling?
Jason: You can actually make as much money as you put in to work. For me right now, I average $200 per month. In November, like you said, I made nearly $500 a month, it went down slightly in December.
But as of yesterday, I made $420 for January. I only source and post items on Saturdays. It takes about 4 to 5 hours each Saturday to do that work. So right now I'm at around $200 per month but I plan on putting in some more hours. I'm also researching different items so I'll be at $500 to $600 monthly within a couple of months.
Joseph: Okay. So easily it sounds like if you're in it for maybe 15, 20 hours a month. It sounds easily like upwards of $25 an hour on a part-time side hustle; that's not bad.
Is there an eBay Seller Strategy that Works Best?
Joseph: Is there an eBay seller strategy you use? Do you look for specific products, specific things to sell? How do you go about sourcing those things and what's your strategy?
Jason: When I first started selling items on eBay, I only went with what I knew. I'm a huge sports fan and I was a big Michael Jordan fan, so I know Michael Jordan tennis shoes. I would go to thrift stores, find the Jordan tennis shoes for about $7 and then flip those online for anywhere from $50 to over $100.
I did that a lot.
I wanted to make more money so I started doing research and started getting jerseys from different sports players, such as baseball jerseys, basketball jerseys, football, and even hockey jerseys.
I did my research, now I sell board games, I sell coffee mugs, I sell random concert shirts, and those type of items could bring in anywhere from $25 to up to $100. Like I recently sold a board game that I purchased for $4, the board game went for $45.
Joseph: Wow! That is an eleven-times profit!
Do You Use Auctions or a Fixed Price to Sell on eBay?
Joseph: So I guess you need to know that the prices these are going for on eBay before you buy them or have a good idea. Do you price the items before you buy? How do you know what to charge on eBay? Do you use the auction or a fixed price?
Jason: I actually do ‘buy it now’. I'm not a fan of the auctions at all, I like to get my money now.
When somebody buys my item, I'll literally have the money in my PayPal account within ten minutes later. How I price it, I use the eBay app on my phone.
I check the sold listings and see what the item is selling for, and then I price it around that same price. Sometimes I have to do it a little bit lower but other times I can list it a little bit higher and make more money than the previous seller made.
Joseph: Okay. The old timer me, I'm still thinking, back in the day on eBay then there weren't really smart phones and you couldn’t just take out your phone and check what prices are. I guess that would be a really easy and convenient way just take out your phone, check what prices are before you’re at the checkout for buying something.
Jason: Exactly. The eBay app saves a lot of time for me. Every Saturday when I'm in a thrift store, I'm pulling it out every three minutes checking something. They also have a scanner on the app, so if I want to sell books or videotapes or DVDs, I can check the price of those and decide if worth it purchasing them or not.
Joseph: It sounds like an arbitrage situation. You know how much something is selling for on eBay, you know how much you can buy it for, and so it's very, not riskless, but very much lower risk.
3 eBay Seller Risks to Avoid
Joseph: Speaking of risks, what are three risks or maybe pitfalls that someone needs to avoid when they're getting started selling on eBay?
Jason: The first pitfall, do not sale counterfeit items. If you sell counterfeit items, there's a good chance that your eBay account will get banned. If it gets banned, 9 times out of 10 you won't be able to open that account back up and you might not be able to open up a different account.
Years ago, I had an associate of mine selling fake items online; like he was lucky because he stopped doing it at the time. But I've read numerous stories of buyers getting kicked off of eBay for selling fake goods.
The next risk or pitfall is, don't forget about your shipping costs. I've made a mistake in the past and lost money due to pricing something too low for shipping.
I can remember it was a painting that I sold and only only charged $9 for shipping and it ended up costing me $29 to ship it. So that took a good chunk of my profit away right there.
If you are on eBay you can do one of two things. You can either charge for shipping or do free shipping.
If you're going to do free shipping, make sure that you increase your price of your item a bit so that you can have a little bit of that price for the shipping. That's what I do, 90% of my items are free shipping just because those free shipping items, they get a lot more views on eBay than some of the ones they have shipping on it.
The third risk to selling on eBay is don't price your items too low. When I used to do the eBay auctions, I thought I would start some things off at like $0.99 or $2.99 and like literally some of them would sell at $0.99 or $2.99 at times.
Those are items that I was trying to make at least $10 on, so I took a couple of losses doing that. So now whether it's an auction or a ‘buy now’, I make sure that I start them off at a price that I can afford to sell it.
Joseph: Okay, smart! So setting that minimum price, you know, maybe benefiting from the auction going higher but setting a minimum price of what you can make.
How to Start Selling on eBay
Joseph: Okay. Alright so that's a lot of good stuff. I understand you have a course on how to sell on eBay?
Jason: It actually came out last year, last September. “The Beginners’ eBay course”. I discuss everything about eBay.
- How to create an eBay account
- I teach people what items that they can purchase
- What happens when you sell your first item
- How to source for different items
- The pitfalls of eBay. For example, if somebody buy something and doesn't pay you, if somebody buys something and wants to return it
It's full of six modules and a couple of bonuses. It's a very good course; I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from it.
How Fast Can You Make Money on eBay?
Joseph: How long does it take for somebody to complete this course and start making money on eBay?
Jason: Let's see. If you focus and you're trying to like make it happen, you can finish the course within two weeks.
Joseph: So two weeks and you’re ready to start making $500 a month. That's not a bad side hustle.
Jason: Not at all.
I want to thank Jason for his insight into selling on eBay and how to make money with online auction sites. Don’t forget to click through and check out some of those other expert interviews and subscribe to the YouTube channel.
Read the Making Money Online Series
- eBay Selling: 9 Tips to Get Started and Make Money
- How to Make Money on Craigslist and 5 Business Ideas
- How to Make Money with Retail Arbitrage
- How Can Lazy Teenagers Make Money Online?
- 5 Rules to Start a Thrift Store Online