Thousands of people around the world earn their living selling on eBay full-time. Getting to that point, for most, is not a fast process -- establishing a sales position on eBay is not something that can be built overnight, and it won't happen just because you want it to. As with any other business, establishing an eBay trade that can support you full-time will take some planning and patience.
If you are new to eBay, you will need to open an account and learn how the site works. Visit to take the eBay sellers' guide. (Find a link in the References section.) You will also want to buy a few things on eBay before you try to sell anything. You will need to build your feedback score. Most customers are not comfortable buying from a seller with zero or very little feedback. Take some time to learn about the site and establish your reputation.
Decide what you will sell. Investigate different options for obtaining your inventory.
You do not need to work with a drop shipper or wholesaler. You can easily find items to sell at thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, consignment stores or discount stores.
Start off small and slowly. Experiment with different products to find out what works best for you. Set goals for yourself regarding how many items you will list each day or week. Once you start making a profit, reinvest the profits to purchase more inventory and grow your business at a rate you are comfortable with. Ease into your eBay business; you cannot build it overnight.
Have a back-up source of income for the first few months. You may want to take on a part-time job to supplement your eBay income until your business takes off. eBay is like retail -- it is cyclical. Some months will be better than others. Give yourself some time to understand the cycles of eBay and how the money flows before you depend on eBay for 100 percent of your income.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. The consumer market can be unpredictable. Offering a variety of products will enable you to cross-sell to existing customers, as well as attract new customers. For example, if your main product line is clothing, you may also want to offer shoes and accessories. If your main product line is baby items, offer maternity items, prenatal vitamins, early childhood learning products or child safety products.
Be prepared to evolve with eBay and the changing consumer market. If you don't have success at first, don't give up. Most eBay sellers fail because they give up too quickly. Ask for help. Try different products. Do research on the Internet. There is no one magic product that sells for big profit all the time. Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things. You may have to adjust your key words, change your photos, revise your item description, or fine-tune your pricing to find a formula that works. eBay is about evolving with the market, understanding what customers want, selling the right products at the right time, and experimenting.
Expect to work at your eBay business just like you would at a traditional job, maybe even more. Many people think that eBay is just sitting at a computer watching the profits roll in. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many sellers fail because they expect success (and big money) too quickly. It takes time to build your eBay business. Be patient, work hard, put in the hours, and the money will come.
Find support groups and talk with other sellers. If you are having a problem with a customer or an issue with eBay, chances are that another seller has "been there, done that" and can offer advice or a solution. Don't be afraid to ask for help -- plenty of experienced sellers are out there and are more than happy to help a newcomer. Look for eBay groups on Facebook, Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, and the WAHM.com message board.
Continue to educate yourself. Read blogs about eBay selling, check the eBay announcement board, listen to podcasts, look on YouTube for videos, and network with other sellers. eBay changes every day. Keep your eyes and ears open for news about the eBay marketplace that may affect your business.