Budgeting your time eBay as a parttime moneymaker

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A part-time eBay business can be very profitable. One thing that I stress in this book is that the more time and energy you spend on your eBay business, the more money you can make. That said, let's examine the lowest possible level of time that you should devote to your business.

Maybe you enjoy finding miscellaneous items to sell on eBay. You can find these items randomly in your day-to-day life. So let's suppose that you could spend at least a few hours (maybe two to three) a day on eBay. Now you must include the time it takes to write up your auctions. If you're selling only one type of item, allow about ten minutes to write your auction and photograph the item (or scan it) and upload it to eBay or a photo-hosting site.

How much time is required to perform these tasks varies from person to person and will improve according to your level of expertise. Regardless, every task in your eBay auction business takes time, and you must budget for that time. See the sidebar "Some handy eBay timesaving tips" for pointers.

You can take great photos and write brilliant descriptions, but cashmere sweaters won't sell for as much in the heat of summer as they do in winter. Doing your research can take up a good deal of time when you're selling a varied group of items. Only you can decide how much time you can afford to spend researching going rates for items on eBay.

Some handy eBay timesaving tips

Crunched for time? The following are some features you're sure to find handy:

I HTML templates: In Chapter 11, I give you some basic HTML templates for attractive auctions (and show you how to find more). These HTML templates cut your auction design time to a few minutes. Most experienced eBay sellers use preset templates to speed up the task of listing auctions, and this should be your goal.

I The Turbo Lister program: When you want to list a bunch of auctions at once, I recommend using the eBay Turbo Lister program. I estimate that Turbo Lister enables you to put together and upload ten auctions in just fifteen minutes. In Chapter 9, I run down the details on how to use this very cool tool.

I The Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro programs. These eBay subscription programs can help you speed up the nuts and bolts of an ongoing eBay businesswhen you're selling many items a week (more on the Selling Manager program in Chapter 9).

i Relisting (or Sell Similar) feature: When you sell the same item time after time, you can use Turbo Lister (it archives your listings so you can repeat them) or the handy eBay relisting or Sell Similar feature. When your auction ends on eBay, links pop up offering to relist your listing or to Sell Similar. If you want to run a different auction with a similar HTML format to the one that just ended, simply select the Sell Similar option and cut and paste the new title and description into the Sell Your Item page of your new listing. Use the Relist feature only when an item hasn't sold the first time, so it will qualify for a listing fee credit when it sells. Use Sell Similar to relist the same item after it fails to sell a second time.

i Auction management software: See the

"Software you can use" section in this chapter, and also see Chapter 9, where I detail various programs to integrate into your eBay business.

You also have to consider how much time it takes to shop for your merchandise. You may have to travel to dealers, go to auctions, or spend time online discovering new ways to find your auction merchandise. Many sellers set aside a full day each week for this undertaking. Your merchandise is what makes you money, so don't skimp on the time you spend identifying products.

Here's a list of various activities that you must perform when doing business on eBay:

I Photograph the item.

I Upload the images to eBay Picture Services when you list or before listing to your ISP or third-party hosting service.

I Pack and weigh the item to determine the shipping cost.

i Choose an auction title with popular keywords. i Write a concise and creative description. i List the item for sale on eBay. i Answer bidder questions.

i Send an end-of-listing e-mail (can be automated through PayPal). i Carry out bookkeeping and banking. i Address the label and affix postage. i Ship the item safely and securely.

Time yourself to see how long it takes to accomplish each of these tasks. The time varies when you list multiple items, so think of the figures that you come up with as your baseline, a minimum amount of time that you must set aside. This information can help you decide how many hours per week or month you need to devote to running your part-time eBay business.

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Ebay PowerSeller

Ebay PowerSeller

The Definitive Guide to Becoming an eBay Powerseller guides you through the rules, giving lists of prohibited items, behaviors, and other landmines.

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