This post is all about eBay and how useful it can be to raise significant money for travel. I personally raised thousands towards my trip using eBay and it made such a difference in what I was able to afford to do, and where I was able to go. So this post is all about how you should use eBay to raise money for your next big trip, or if you’re not a traveller this advice applies to all walks of life.
1 – Have a clear out of your own stuff
This is the step even before you open up that laptop and start listing some items. Having a clear out, for some people, this can be a pain, but for others it’s actually pretty therapeutic to get rid of that old junk you’ve had lying around you never use any more, or that Abercrombie jumper you no longer wear. If there is one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that even things you consider pretty worthless, somebody out there will be interested in. So don’t discount items just because YOU don’t think they are that great, because often even the most random seeming things to you, are exactly what someone else could be looking for.
I always like to use the rule, if you haven’t used it in a year, sell it. Obviously I don’t mean things with more sentimental value than monetary. I mean things like that microphone you bought when you decided to record more but never figured out how to use it, or those video games you’ve not played in years. Things that if it came down to it, you can come back and once you’re earning again, easily re-purchase. If you don’t have higher priced items, then even selling old toys, DVDs, video games (often taking these to a electronics exchange may be better than eBay), and branded clothes. I’ve known people make very decent money selling their branded clothes on eBay, even using this as a way to affordably keep up with latest fashion trends, buying branded gear they want, wearing it a few months, then selling it on etc.
2 – Find friends or relatives that have things they want to get rid of
You’d honestly be so surprised at the amount of stuff people have they just want rid of. It’s also a way of raising extra cash once you’ve got together some of your own possessions. Although sometimes people will have things they just want off their hands, I’m not saying milk your friends and family by convincing them to ‘give you’ stuff to sell. I’m saying, offer to sell their unwanted possessions etc for a percentage of the profits. I sold a significant of the amount of items on eBay in this way, selling old porcelain figurines etc that my family had inherited, never liked, and just sat in a box for years, that they were actually really pleased to be rid of. People often don’t actually have the time or inclination to sell these things themselves, only keeping them because they’re too good to throw away, so it’s a way that you can both benefit. Or you could make a deal to clear out their attic or boxes of what they consider junk, if you can sell what remains. In this case you’ll likely have a lot of actual junk you’ll need to get rid of, but in return you’ll have extra things you can sell.
3 – Take good quality photos and do your research
Once you have a bunch of items, it’s on to the process of taking pictures and getting the right information about them to sell them. This is so important when you’re selling through eBay. Firstly you want to know how many other people are selling the same things and for how much, and also you want to stand out from the crowd and make your items look as good as possible. This means taking clear great quality pictures, in good lighting, and try to have a non distracting background. There really isn’t any excuse with the quality of most camera phones now to not have good pictures. You also want to make sure that you include as many pictures as possible to make it clear to buyers the condition of the item. Once you know what your competitors are selling their items for it gives you a good idea of where you should start selling your item. Also don’t forget to use the right relevant keywords for your items, eBay is a search engine so you want your item to appear in the right results.
4 – Get selling
So once you’ve got your items and taken lots of great pictures, you can start selling. Now you’ve got your great pictures, you’ll want to include plenty of information about the listings, including any possible flaws. Don’t discount selling something if there’s a problem with it, people will still potentially buy it, just make sure you’re honest and upfront about the quality and condition of what you’re selling. Trust me, when you’re selling you want to be as detailed as possible about items, because things you think will be obvious aren’t to others. I much prefer taking slightly longer to write detailed descriptions, than having lots of people asking me questions about items. It also makes your item more appealing if description and images are better, because some people will just forget your item as they won’t want to email.
I also always prefer to sell items at the same time, for example have 7 days where I’m selling 10 items. This means that you’ll be a lot more efficient in listing them all together and dispatching them together, rather than needing to list separately and go to the post office multiple times to dispatch each one etc. It’s also pretty fun to check in on your items progress and watch the final auctions all finishing near each other.
5 – Learn and repeat
This is a really important step for me, because sometimes people can get put off eBay if things don’t go too well when they start. It does take time and experience to know what kinds of items available to you will sell the best, and also to get your head around the best ways to dispatch your items to buyers. It’s like anything in that the more you’ll do it, the easier you realise it is, and the better you’ll become. Luckily too, it’s pretty simple and quick. Most of the time, you won’t actually pay to list items, only when you sell them so it’s risk free as well. So if your item hasn’t sold, you can try relisting again with a lower price.
So I hope this post has been useful and I haven’t just been stating the obvious. I’m also aware that there are competitors of eBay that have emerged and may be better for people to use in different countries for boot sale type activity. But I’ve written about eBay because I honestly did raise such significant money using the steps above, it’s the number one best way I’ve found (other than saving), to actively raise extra money for travel.
If you know any new better alternatives to eBay, or you’ve had any experiences with it. I’d love to hear about all your trials and tribulations below
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