10 Strategies That Guarantee You More Profit on eBay and eCommerce Sales

I'm very proud that the ninth edition of eBay For Dummies has published. This fully revised edition is based on the previous editions and my 20 years buying and selling on eBay. My store is open every day that I am in town and I ship items to buyers every week.

Selling on eBay can be a way to make a part time or full time living. For me, eBay sales enabled my daughter and I to run a business together and to subsidize the many things we needed when she was growing up. I even paid for her college tuition with eBay sales. She graduated debt free.

Here are a few tips - although this short post can't begin to get into the depth of the full book - it will give you a taste of what you'll find (there's even a chapter on how to source low cost items for selling)!
  1. Research first: When listing a new item, research it online (not just on eBay) and be sure that you know its current value and the going price. If it’s a collectible, find out as much as you can about the item’s importance, history, and condition. (The book gives you places to look).
  2. Figure out shipping: Before listing an item for sale, weigh your item and estimate the shipping cost. If it’s not cost effective to offer Free Shipping, accurately represent shipping costs in your listing whether you use a flat rate or the shipping calculator for heavier packages.
  3. Get a discount on your USPS shipping: Print your postage electronically and get the Commercial Base price. This way you can charge your postage to your credit card in order to keep a separate record (for taxes) of your shipping costs. Click here for these features and get a 60 day trial of Endicia Internet Postage.
  4. Answer eBay messages quickly: Questions from prospective bidders and buyers should be answered within 24 hours, and when running auctions, check your messages hourly the day before the close. (Doing so can pay off in higher last-minute bidding.) Good customer service goes a long way in promoting and building your eBay business.
  5. Do people want your item: Double-check to see how many other sellers are selling your item (and for how much). Also, check "sold listings" to see how much people are actually paying). eBay is a supply-and-demand marketplace. When too many people are selling the same item, the price may go down. If you decide not to sell right now, save a search on eBay for the item so you will be notified when new items that match yours are listed on the site.
  6. Follow the rules: Verify that your item isn’t counterfeit, prohibited or considered questionable by eBay. If you’re in doubt, read eBay’s guidelines and check your local laws.
  7. Add lots of pictures: eBay lets you post 12 photos for free, so add multiple pictures to make your listing more attractive and search friendly. Shoot closeups; show every possible angle.
  8. Write a title that sells: Be sure that your title highlights the item’s keywords — adjectives get you nowhere.
  9. Descriptions make a difference: When writing your description, be direct, informative, and concise. This shows potential buyers that you’re honest and easy to work with. Also be sure to fill in as many item specifics as you can, including EAN, UPC, MPN, Brand, and/or ISBN to assure better placement in search.
  10. The eBay mobile app is feature full: Stick to the basics and when on your smartphone, use the app to price items when you’re out and about.To see all the features of the app, tap the “hamburger button” (three parallel horizontal lines) on the top-left corner to reveal an easy-to-navigate menu (shown above), which gives you many options. If you list via the app, be sure to double check how your item looks on a computer later and make any necessary changes to make it more attractive.
I know the book will give you what you need to know to start making profits online. You can find it by clicking the link below. You'll find reviews on Amazon, or check out this post from Margie Clayman: eBay for Dummies: Teaching Through Stories


Denting the Universe with NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman

Attending the Dent conference can be a life altering experience and I've been lucky enough to be present for the past two years. Dent is an invitation-only gathering held once a year in Sun Valley, ID for people who want to "put a dent in the universe," as Steve Jobs once said. It was founded by Jason Preston and Steve Broback, two forward thinking visionaries that have changed the landscape of technology for over twenty years.

At this year's conference, I had the honor of interviewing NASA Astronaut, Catherine Grace "Cady" Coleman about her career in space. This interview was a prelude to the announcement of Dent: Space. The first Dent: Space conference will be held in San Francisco on September 21st through 23rd, 2016.

I had some interesting questions for Cady. Watch the short thirty minute video where you'll learn about calluses in space, UFOs, CAPCOMs, the Journey to Mars, Space X, and the NASA Space Apps Challenge.  If you prefer, the full transcript is after the jump.

MC: Cady Coleman is an astronaut, can you tell? Because she has all the badges and everything which makes her absolutely official! Cady has over a 180 days in space (accumulated over two space with Shuttle missions), a six-month expedition with the International Space Station; she launched and landed aboard the Soyuz Russian spacecraft, she acted as the lead robotics and Science Officer during her tenure abroad the ISS and you performed a second ever free flyer robotic capture from the ISS. Presently, you are astronaut and innovation lead at NASA’s Office at Chief Technologist. Are you the Chief Technologist? 


Thoughts on International Women’s Day #OneDayIWill

International Women’s Day is March 8, and Google is encouraging women everywhere to share their aspirations that day on social media using the hashtag, #OneDayIWill.

The team from Google Doodle reached out to see it I wanted to be part of of the day, but I had to come up with a single aspiration. This, as a friend said, is a problem that happens too rarely. What could I possibly say that would, in one Tweetable sentence, say everything I wish for women everywhere?

I asked friends. I asked my daughter who works at a University. I asked millennials (thinking perhaps they had a better line on this than me). No one's input expressed exactly how I feel. There's no way I could be snarky. This had to be real. 

So, after a weekend of thinking and writing lots of notes; it was time to turn in my aspiration - for women everywhere.

After watching the Academy Awards, it came to me. It seemed like there weren't enough women represented. Where are the women ready to take on the projects that will be honored by the Academy?


Secrets You Need to Know Before You Write and Sell Your Book

If there's one question that I consistently get from friends and online acquaintances, it is one for advice on writing a book. It seems that everyone wants to write a book. People write books for different reasons. I think I was born wanting to write a book, I majored in English Literature for that reason. For other reasons, I ended up in marketing, but the need to write a book - to help people - never went away. The most common reasons I hear from people are:
  • Establish themselves as an expert in their field (does that really work?)
  • Get more speaking engagements
  • Satisfy a heartfelt need
  • Fulfill their ego to be a "published" author
Writing and selling my books is my main job (along with constantly researching my topics), it comes before everything else, even social media and speaking. I have been writing books since 1998 and sold a million by 2007. I don't count the numbers anymore, what counts to me is hearing from my readers. I am lucky to have been writing long enough to see the impact my books have made on my reader's lives.

Wanting to write a book and actually finishing the project are two vastly different things - just ask anyone who has written one. You also need to know, writing books are not for everyone. "Long form" content takes on a completely new meaning when you're expected to write not just 1,500 words - but over 300 pages on a topic.