Step-by-Step Guide for the eBay Newbie

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Smart eBay Steps Made Simple

This step-by-step guide is for you if you are new to selling on eBay. Some time invested in learning first can save a lot of headaches later.

Take one step at a time, and resist the urge to skip steps within this guide because these basic steps provide a foundation.

Make sure you ready-aim-fire instead of fire-ready-aim ... cause you could shoot your own success.

This guide is written in 3 sections:   Get Ready, Get Set, Go!


Learning Your Way Around eBay

1)  If you are brand new to eBay start by watching ALL of the tutorials and learn the basics.

eBay has developed some great tutorials on video right on the site.  USE them.  It will take about 30

minutes to watch all three of them.  Do this first, then come back.

eBay Tutorials

2)  Register with a user name, then get familiar with your own eBay page. All of your

own eBay activity will be automatically tracked here.  Get to KNOW this page well as

you will refer to it a LOT.  You can adjust things and move sections up and down.  Play

around with it as you set up shop.  For now bring the 'items I'm watching' section to the

top of page (use those arrows on the far right).  You will see why in the steps below.  You

can always 'rearrange the furniture' later as your activity changes.

Optional step - Your 'About Me' page:

This one is optional, but it can boost a buyer's confidence to know a bit more about you.  

Play around with this 'About Me' page now, later, or never - up to you.  Chances are that if

you hang around in this eBay playground for long, you'll learn many other reasons why this

page can be important, for there's a wide variety of effective ways to use it.  

View this author's 'About Me' page here.

3)  Get a Paypal account.  This used to be optional, but now eBay requires that sellers ONLY accept Paypal for

payment.   Paypal makes the process much faster and easier.   Signing up for a Paypal account is free.  

However you will be charged some small fees each time you use it.  You can either make a

deposit to your Paypal account to cover these fees or else back it up with a credit card or

bank account.

Questions and Answers about Paypal HERE



Critical Steps BEFORE Bidding

BEFORE YOU BID  - Research, Study, Plan, and Think.

I highly recommend you BUY before you SELL on eBay for several good reasons.

  For one, you will learn a LOT in the buying process about eBay practices

that will help you become a good seller.  You might make a mistake, but if you read and

follow ALL of these steps, you won't likely make a BIG mistake. Probably every eBay trader

out there can tell stories of mistakes and problems, the discussion boards are full of them.  

But don't let all of that intimidate you right now.  Mistakes are one of the ways we DO learn

(That's why pencils have erasers :-).  Better to make a mistake as a buyer than as a seller.  

Another reason is to buy first is to earn some feedback.  eBay Traders can give feedback

ratings to rate the transaction.  Often buyers are very reluctant to buy from someone with

zero or a very low feedback rating.  Feedback is a way of building a reputation on eBay as a

reliable trader.  Look for the star at top left of page.  The number next to it is that

person's feedback rating on eBay.  You might want to avoid sellers with a zero feedback -

that's considered kind of risky due to no track record.

OK, we're going shopping (for now really just browsing) for LOW priced items only. Do NOT bid

just yet.  There are tons of eBay items listed for 99 cents.  Make that price your target for

a first purchase.  Books are good, you can usually find lots of titles for a buck.  At the

top right side of every auction listing you will see a link that says 'Watch this item'.  

Click it and the item appears on your my eBay page. Do that for some low-priced items you

like. No risk at all in watching items, you don't have to bid and can always delete them

later. Do check the item description, shipping rates, and seller feedback first.  If it all

looks ok, then 'watch' it and browse some more.

Visit the eBay categories page for item ideas beyond books at the link below. Just try and

stay focused on LOW priced items for now.  Bypass the higher ticket items until you know your

way around eBay.  Try using the search box to find specific items.

eBay Categories page

Got several items saved in your 'watched items' category?  Good.  On the right side you will

see how much time is left.  Most auctions last a week.  On the right side under 'time left'

you'll see something like this '2d 21h 29m' which indicates how long before this item's

auction ends.  Sometimes there's a lot of bidding in the last 10 minutes.  In that case, you

refresh your screen with that blue arrow on top left of your browser every minute or so, and

sometimes it's amazing to watch a bidding war (especially fun when you are the seller. :-)


When questions come up (and they will), visit the eBay Discussion Boards.  Most likely you

will not only find your answer but learn a lot more in the process. 

Index of Discussion Board Topics Available

There's even a Discussion Board for those brand new to eBay.

Discussion Board of tips and ideas to build a great 'About Me' page

Before you post a question on any of the discussion boards, first scroll down the list

because someone else likely already has asked the same question.  You can even use the search

box on the top left and type a few key words to your question in there, then click and a

search will be done FOR you automatically.


Sellers on eBay can and often DO charge whatever they WANT to charge for shipping, and some

are a real rip-off. Imagine how you'll feel if you WON a 99 cent auction only to realize the

seller is charging 15 bucks for shipping! Not a bad shipping rate for an item that weighs 50

pounds, but NOT for a paperback book that weighs maybe 5 OUNCES!  

Most sellers do also add a fee for handling, usually just a few dollars.  That's fair, for

the seller has to prepare the item for shipping and take it to the Post Office. So just pay

attention to what sellers have to say about shipping rates and calculate that into the price.

Books can bargains on eBay.  I bought a hard bound copy of a recent title for 1.99 on eBay +

$4 shipping.  That's $6 for a title selling at the book stores for well over $20.  So even

WITH shipping rates, great deals are out there.  Just be aware. 

Books can be shipped by Media Mail at a very low rate. I wouldn't pay more than $4-5 to ship one book.  

Note*  If you want the item right away, then contact seller and request an upgrade to

Priority Mail or First Class (at a higher rate).  Otherwise shipping can take 1-2 weeks!  

Parcel Post and Media Mail are cheapest rates, but ALSO are very low priority at the Post

Office. They tend to ship at a snail's pace, and that's not in the buyer's control.

Shipping can be complicated, but the above information is a good start.

Shipping Discussion Board on eBay



Making Your First Few Purchases on eBay

Placing a bid on eBay is considered a contract.  Once you bid, you are expected to follow

through and pay if no one bids higher.  You can't 'change your mind' or take it back, so do

be prepared and take it seriously. Read the item description and DO contact buyer BEFORE

bidding with any questions. eBay sends a message automatically if you win a bid to

whatever e-mail you registered there so DO check it.

Once you have WON...

  Often the seller will contact you or send an invoice.  Pay ASAP and then

WAIT until the item is shipped to you to enter feedback.  Once it arrives, check to make sure

it is what you expected, and only THEN enter feedback.  In most cases, the seller will then

do same for you in return.  Some sellers forget, and then sending an e-mail reminder is

appropriate, just make sure it is worded tactfully and politely.  However, no one is required

to enter feedback for sales on eBay, and a few never do.

There are many books out there for people wanting to learn about eBay, yet the basic steps

toward getting started are readily available for free right here on the website.  When you are

ready to start selling items, there are tons of pages on the Discussion Boards about all

sorts of related topics.  However that is not always the best place for good information

since some use it to complain, and sometimes you have to scroll through a lot of junk to get to the good information.

 On the other hand, there are some really knowledgable people who post there daily, and often will respond many times

to questions needing immediate answers.  They do not work for eBay nor get paid, and yet take

the time to help others through the maze of eBay issues that arise.

Everything doesn't sell, in fact a LOT of items listed on eBay never sell.  So don't get

discouraged if your first few attempts at selling do not get bids.  That's just time to learn

some new tricks, that's all.   On my page, there's a link to what I find to be the BEST free

newsletter available about eBay selling.  Great free resource for sellers and one of the most

widely read newsletters available about eBay...and no, I am not the author.   He is one of

my favorite mentors - VERY successful on eBay. 

eBay does charge several fees related to selling.  Educate yourself on those 'listing fees'

before selling too much or else you can really lose money unnecessarily.  Free software is available

for sellers that enable them to bypass many of those listing fees AND make the selling

process much easier.  I wrote a review about the one I use, and it is available at the link below.

Free Software for eBay Sellers - Highly Recommended

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