Money

How To Make Money Selling Your Stuff Online — From 3 Women Who Actually Did

From clothing to books to antiques, these women are turning used items into cash. Finding the right items (nothing too old or broken) and the right buyers has made dreams come true — some women have quit their jobs. Learn their secrets so you can successfully sell your stuff online and make money, too!

“I earn $210,000 a year selling items on eBay!”

Shari Smith, 52
Shari Smith, 52, COFirst for Women

“Years ago, I was a recruiter, but I was working long hours and was stressed out. I decided to quit my job, and while looking for a new one, I started cleaning out all the stuff taking up space in my house (like jewelry, purses, and housewares) and made money selling it on eBay. When friends found out what I was doing, they asked me to sell their stuff too, and they paid me a commission. I got so busy that I never had to look for a new job!

“Getting started on the site is simple. When I list new items, I first look to see if the same items are selling and how much they sell for. I also look at the buyer who made the most money and see how they listed it. I then write a description, add photos, and determine the shipping rate. Ebay takes 12 percent of the total of what the buyer pays for an item, including shipping.

“I sell my own and others’ clothing, handbags, jewelry, electronics, video games, books, tablets, cameras, and tools. I get a lot of word-of-mouth referrals, and I also find new clients on LinkedIn, Nextdoor, and social media. A company recently asked me to sell their commercial meat wrapper because they had to buy a new one — it sold for $12,000. I also offer one-on-one coaching and a virtual course for those who want to learn how to sell on eBay.

“I make $210,000 a year, which pays the bills, goes back into the business and allows me to go on vacation to places like Maui!”

“I make up to $2,000 a month selling vintage items on Etsy!”

Patty Johnson, 59, Milwaukee
Patty Johnson, 59, MilwaukeeFirst for Women

When I was a kid, my parents had an antique shop and I used to spend weekends with them looking for new items and working in the shop. Last year, I had accumulated a ton of items from my mom and my husband’s family. I also had a lot of my own stuff like Playbills and autographs that were taking up space, so I decided to open up Nan’s Haven Antiques and Collectibles on Etsy and sell them there. It started out as a hobby, but when the pandemic began, I knew it would be a great way to make money on the side.

I designed a logo, wrote a description for the shop, and included information about my background. When I have new items to sell, I research them on eBay, read the descriptions to see which keywords are used, and get an idea for pricing. I also use WorthPoint, a subscription service that shows you what different things have sold for. When writing up my item, in addition to the usual descriptors, I give suggestions on how they can be used. For example, I recently sold an oblong planter after posting photos of it filled with things like makeup, office supplies, and faux succulents.

“I continue to source items at estate sales but only buy things that I love or that I think others will love. I’ve sold a signed Christmas card from Liberace and Barbie dolls — I have 500 of them in my basement! I always send a handwritten thank-you card to all of my customers.

“Each month varies, but I can make up to $2,000 a month (Etsy makes a cut of my sales). The money I make goes toward savings and to pay for a vacation with my husband to celebrate our anniversary!”

“I bring in up to $800 a month selling books on Amazon!”

Theresa Cox, 56, Gilbert, AZ
Theresa Cox, 56, Gilbert, AZFirst for Women

“I used to work full-time in higher education, and I had been an online hobby seller for years. A colleague asked me to get rid of books so he could repurpose a space. When I researched the books, I was surprised at how much they were selling for, so I decided to start selling them on Amazon. Six years ago, I left my job and online selling became my full-time gig.

“I sell my own books and source books from garage sales, estate sales, and thrift stores. I sell children’s books, textbooks, and medical and nursing books. I use the Amazon Seller app to see if the book is in the catalog, its sales rank, and what it sold for to set my pricing. I use both ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’, where I ship the books to the warehouse and Amazon ships them to the buyer, and ‘Amazon Fulfilled by Merchant’, which allows me to ship the books directly to the buyer. I also sell the books on eBay and Etsy and use List Perfectly, software that allows me to quickly and easily cross-promote my items on 12 different platforms. I spend about four hours a week selling books online.

“I love the flexibility and freedom this business affords me to care for my aging mom. I make up to $800 a month, which pays the bills and allows me to travel to see friends and family.”

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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