Part Time eBay Side Hustle Expert

Over the past 2 years I have become a part-time side hustle expert on eBay.  What I do is simple, I buy new and gently used men’s and women’s clothing from garage sales, discount stores(like Ross, Marshall’s, Nike Outlet), and thrift stores.  I take the items I purchase and resell these items on eBay for a profit.  I have been selling on and off since I graduated college in which I started my side hustle with a credit card and then moved on to sell from Chicago to Miami. What happened 2 years ago, that has me making $$$ every month?

I had just moved into the neighborhood and wanted to see what stores and shops were around, I discovered only a few blocks away a nice thrift store.  Now I have never really been into thrift stores with the exception of buying a classic Blink 182 t-shirt and the occasional Halloween costume, but I was curious.  This particular thrift store was primarily clothing, I immediately went to the polo shirt section to see what they had to offer and to my surprise they had some really great brands and like new items.  I came across a couple of golf polo’s that I was familiar with due to my days of caddying for Michael Jordan.  I decided to purchase 3 or 4 polos for a total of around $10, one was even a Polo Ralph Lauren.  I  brought them home to Mrs. Even Steven and she was wondering what I was doing buying used polo shirts, well I had in the back of my mind that I was going to sell them on eBay!  She wasn’t buying it and for that fact didn’t believe anyone would buy my new found treasures.  From my previous eBay experience I snapped a couple pictures and listed them auction style for about $9.99 and they Sold!  Fast Forward a couple years and I’m very proud to say I have made enough money selling on eBay to buy all the appliances in our 3-Flat multi-unit home, presents for the wife to see comedians Daniel Tosh and Aziz Ansari, and most important this money has helped me towards paying off my student loans.  So you are probably wondering what’s my secret, how did I sell enough used clothing to do all that!?!?

Have a Niche

I have worked a few retail jobs growing up including Marshall Field’s and Abercrombie and Fitch, so I tend to know name brands and what looks good and what doesn’t.  I know what clothes are expensive and what clothes are cheap, buying a Tommy Bahama polo at Macy’s is expensive and buying a Kirkland polo at Costco is cheap, so I would look for the expensive brands specifically.  I started out knowing a good amount about brand names like Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike, and Banana Republic.  What I didn’t know I researched through eBay or Google, for example when I first saw a nice Tommy Bahama polo shirt I was curious so I looked up how much they were selling for and it was a good amount, so I bought it.  I knew I could focus on polo shirts, since  they could be worn year round(in  certain parts of the US, although I attempt to wear them in Chicago year-round), they were expensive items, I knew the brand names, and a wild card for me was knowing golf courses.  I had a niche and I created a better understanding of that niche, what was selling and what wasn’t.  I would buy a J Crew polo, list it on eBay for a few weeks and see if it sold, I was doing my own market research.  Most important I knew my product, I created a niche.

You Need a Supplier(s)

This is most people’s big hang up.  I don’t have anything to sell?  Where do I get these items from?  I can’t find a wholesaler or I don’t want to buy from China?  Want to know the people who ask these questions?  The people who are not going to do anything just expect money to fall in their laps.  If you want to sell online and make money, I recommend starting with items you don’t use anymore.  Start with a used pair of running shoes that you wore a few times.  Once you sell a few items, you will begin to understand what people are buying and how you can get your hands on those specific items.  You will work to get your hands on those items, whether it’s selling beanie babies or antique items from flea markets, if you want to sell them you will make it happen.  Your mindset completely changes, you are no longer going to shop for items, but you are looking how much you can sell the item for,  when it happens it’s great you are thinking like a business man or woman.  I primarily buy from a few thrift stores in the Chicago area, they replenish the store very frequently and Chicago has enough stores around that supply has not been an issue.

Learn the Business

Nobody starts out in business and knows everything, you work hard and learn as you go, usually from mistakes, but also from things that go exceedingly well, let me give you an example.  While going through the polo’s at the thrift store I came across a nice Fairway and Greene polo, but I had not seen the logo before, which has become more and more rare over time.  The logo was a little dog on the front, now I know you can put just about any logo on a shirt and sell it, but I knew this one was different.  I ended up making the $3 purchase, which is about the average cost of items I buy and looked it up extensively online when I arrived home.  What I found was a thrift store treasure, the polo’s sold for anywhere from $100-$150.  I listed my like new Scotty Cameron polo, the dog was a “Scotty” and the logo for the Titleist Scotty Cameron putter which is considered by many to be the best in golf, which I listed for $100 and sold about 30 minutes later.  That went exceedingly well, now I don’t know how many $100 polo’s I will sell, but I will tell you that because I knew what to look for I have sold a few $100 polo’s since, it’s called learning the business.

Let me give you another example of learning from your mistakes.  When I first started selling I put everything on auction and put it at a price that would make me a few dollars.  I usually started my auctions at $9.99 in Week 1, $7.99 in Week 2, and $5.99 in Week 3.  I did this for a few reasons, 1)  I knew and understood auctions.  2)  I wanted the money right now or at least in 7 days.  3)  It was working and making money.  Then I realized this was not the best approach, I was shipping as many as 20 or 30 items Sunday night and all for what making $7 or $8 an item.  I knew that I couldn’t maintain making a few dollars off polo’s each week, something had to change.  I listened to eBay Scavengers  who I highly recommend to anyone who wants to sell on eBay, and they said something that struck a chord, it went something like this:  Whether you sell the item for $5 or $50 it still takes the same amount of time to buy, list, and ship it.  Brilliant!!!  I was/still am a big fan of Rahmit Sethi and IWTYTBR, but when I was getting hammered with emails from Rahmit and listening to live webinars(seriously this guy is really smart, I suggest checking out some of his stuff), he said a couple things that also really hit home, here’s the one that made me more money:  Ask for more money, your worth it.  That’s exactly what I did, I increased the auction prices, instead of $9.99 some of my best items were starting at $24.99 and you know what it worked.  Which was absolutely crazy to me, so if I ask for more money people will still buy my items…..Crazy  I have learned the business and will continue to learn more about eBay and making money.  I’m just getting started, but I have experimented with prices, brands, shipping, format, templates, listing, etc and while I’m not quitting my 9-5 to run an eBay store, I am however making money each month by simply buying and reselling items on eBay.

Summary

I have taken my eBay side hustle and made it into an income stream, as much work as I put into eBay is the exact amount I will get out.  I don’t use this as my full-time income, but as I have previously mentioned it has turned into extra money each month.  Don’t you want an extra $300 to pay off debt or take your spouse out to dinner or see a movie and not have take money from your 9-5 paycheck?  Over the past 3 eBay posts, I have went from $0 to Part-Time eBay side hustle expert and I believe anyone can do it.  I have a wealth of eBay information on buying and selling, I’m looking to post a couple guides coming out in the next couple months.  I have some ideas in the direction that I want to go, but what I really want to know is what do the people want?  What would help you the most?

What guide would help you the most for selling on eBay?  Have you ever purchased an item on eBay?  What’s stopping you from creating a username and buying and/or selling on eBay?

26 Responses to “Part Time eBay Side Hustle Expert

  • I think this is an awesome side hustle! I have done something similar with kids clothing in the past. Some people sell really nice, used stuff for 50 cents at garage sales! People on ebay will pay big money for that stuff.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…November Budget Breakdown and I’m BAAAACCCKKKMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Thanks Holly. Sounds like you have a Niche with the kids clothes and a Supplier with garage sales, yeah I was pleasantly surprised to see people pay big money for some items, but at the same time, if a new polo is $80 and I find it a thrift store in new condition, it doesn’t seem out of line to sell the item for $25-$40.

  • Sounds like a fantastic side hustle you’ve created Even Steven. I don’t think I have the interest in doing something like selling on Ebay (but I’ve never even really used Ebay), and any side-hustle I try I will want to be a little more excited about.

    My wife did try to dabble in this at one point, and made some nice profits on a couple of items, but after a couple of lost parcels and some other nuisances I think she decided it wasn’t worth committing to for the long-term.
    Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted…The Islands of Investing libraryMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Yeah for me what makes it fun is the treasure hunt part, finding an item you know that was overlooked or they didn’t know was valuable, it’s awesome. I found a brand new Titleist Sunday Golf Bag sitting mixed in with luggage, it cost me $3 and listed it for $60, sold in less than an hour, the treasure hunt is fun. The listing, pictures, shipping, etc a little less fun.

      Yeah I’ve never had to much issue with shipping, anything I did was my own fault and chalked up to cost of doing business. eBay isn’t for everyone of course.

  • That’s a really cool side hustle, and I am impressed by the results. All the appliances in a three unit flat? That’s more than lunch money you’re earning. Well done.
    Done by Forty recently posted…Power of the BaselineMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Thanks DB40, yeah I pt in some extra work while we were looking at houses, I did get a great package deal on my appliances:)

  • Impressive results!

    How much of your time do you have to spend dealing with customers, because that’s something that would really hold me back to start something similar to this.
    No More Waffles recently posted…Net Worth Update: €47,787 (+5.08%)My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      When I first started I spent some time with customers, mostly because I didn’t take enough pictures or the description was bad or poor quality item. Now I buy the best condition, give better descriptions and pictures, if anyone wants to return anything I immediately tell them to send it back. Now I spend less than 10 min a week, I’ve learned over time to relax and and don’t take it personal.

  • Seriously great tips here! I do the same thing with clothes, but not so much polos, more suits and dress shirts. It’s great to find a store like “Name Brand Clothing” (located in a few states) that sells new clothes with minor or no defects. I’ve noticed that most of the time when they are selling a sports coat, it’s because it went to a suit and the pants were messed up. I just buy the sports coat (sometimes for under $5 for Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, etc.) and sell them for huge profits on eBay.
    MoneyMiniBlog recently posted…How Does Debt Settlement Affect My Credit Score?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Sounds like a hidden little gem, very nice. I only started doing some of the suits/sport coats, it has brought in some higher $$, only thing is for me since they are used is listing all of the measurements, easy to have user error on my part. New suits would probably be easier, but I prefer to stick with easy sizes, Large is hard to mess up;)

  • Loved this post! I’ve been meaning to sell my old shoes on ebay for a long time and I love thrift shopping I need to stop wasting time and just get started. For the clothing do you wash it first, and then take the photos and upload it to ebay?

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Great question. So originally I would wash almost everything and then try to steam the wrinkles out of the shirts so the pictures would be as close to flawless as possible.

      The process was too time consuming, so now I only wash the items that have a blemish that I think might be able to be removed from the wash(I do my best to avoid these items at the initial purchase, but I buy a large amount so a few are bound to sneak in). I figure most people are going to wash these items before every wearing them anyways.

      Let me know how it goes. Feel free to send me the link of your eBay item when you list it, I can give you a brief run down on what I like/dislike about it….Free of charge!

  • Even Steven, thanks for the great post. It’s inspiring to read of your success with your online sales. People need to hear your story. I love how you used it to pay off college debt as well! I am sharing this with my audience. Thanks for what you do!

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Thanks Rocky, side hustling was a big part of paying off my college debt, it helped me get over the top and reach my goals. Thanks for checking Even Steven out.

  • Hi there! Visiting from your guest post over on Budgets Are Sexy – way to go paying off that debt! If you do a future eBay post, I’d be really interested to see a break down of the time you spend on the whole process (shopping, photographing, listing, shipping, etc.) I’m a “casual eBay-er,” I mostly sell things we’re trying to declutter, but a side hustle wouldn’t hurt.

    I’m in the Chicago ‘burbs, I’d love to hear specifics about where you shop, too, if you want to share. Don’t worry, polos won’t be my niche 😉

  • This is really cool, I had no idea you were doing this as a side hustle.
    Being able to experiment with pricing is awesome, you often hear from entrepreneurs that you eventually need to test raising your prices, seems like it works like a charm.
    There’s a discount store just across the street from where I live with only brand names, I might go have a look if there’s potential reselling some of this stuff 🙂
    TheMoneyMine recently posted…Pay cash or Finance ? The Ultimate GuideMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      It’s worth a try, I learned a lot along the way so now everything seems pretty easy. Try buying like $20 worth of stuff and give it a try, don’t expect it to sell the next day and a little trial and error you will figure it all out.

  • Carson
    1 year ago

    o this date I have also been selling cloths on Ebay (its been 4 days) and have a few items listed. I’ve been reading online that many long time sellers are being suspended indefinitely from a few bad buyer reviews despite having an overwhelming amount of positive reviews. In your experience, how do you handle, or even avoid bad customer reviews when selling on Ebay? Also, if you had heard of these stories do you think someone selling 20 items or less a month would have anything to worry about?

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      I ran into bad reviews early on and honestly I just got better over time with products and communication. You will not please everyone, the best you can do is kill them with kindness and have the best/better products. I would also suggest early on to communicate with the customers, ask them what went really well or what you could improve in the future, that made a difference for me as well. Hope that helps!

  • How much time a week do you spend on eBay? Do you think someone could build a successful eBay business working only on weekends? Thanks.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      I think you certainly can do a large bulk of the work on the weekends, but as I’ve heard before you may have a 9-5, but it’s what you do from 5-9 that makes your side hustle.

  • Great post! Seriously wonderful tips and advice! I really love how you explained everything and it is so easy to understand that I feel like I can start my own ebay side hustle, lol! Thank you so much for sharing your awesome experiences while selling on ebay and also for being so open about getting started! Will be back to read more!

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