how we really made millions in revenue from eBay sales

How to Make Money on eBay – Lessons Learned from Building Multi-Million Dollar eBay business


Why Should You Care?

Every week, we share our eBay experience (fails, eBay hacks, selling mistakes) to help you guys increase your own eBay sales and reach the next level.
We try to be as specific as possible to give you PRACTICAL tips you can implement right away and see the results soon after That’s how we would have liked to learn and this is why we write this way, no bullshit approach!
Last week’s post about the Anatomy of a high-converting eBay listing design is a great example of tips you can implement immediately on your own eBay listings.

This week, I’ve decided to touch on a broader subject, one I’m asked about very frequently on Quora:

  • what does it take to build a successful eBay business?
  • How to make money on eBay?
  • How to increase eBay sales quickly?

This type of questions is extremely popular and gets thousands of views (one of my answers about successfully selling on eBay has already reached over 72,000 views).

quora answer crazylister maxim godin

What does it REALLY take to make money on eBay

The reason that the questions I’ve mentioned are so popular is because people are fascinated with the idea that there is some way to make money easily and quickly.
People want to believe that there is some magic trick to earning lots of money without effort.
The thing is, if it was so easy, everyone would do it.

make money on eBay with CrazyLister

We’ve been building our own businesses for over 10 years now. During that time, we went through almost every possible disaster a business owner can go through and made a lot of eBay selling mistakes.
While there are many factors to making money on eBay, I’ve chosen to concentrate on three of the most crucial things that helped us reach $4.5 million in annual sales, less than 3 years after launching our eBay business:

  1. Execution
  2. Perseverance
  3. Killing our business – every day

Try CrazyLister for free! Easily create professional, mobile-optimized eBay listings

The Importance of Execution

Definition: The capacity to complete assigned tasks and responsibilities to specified standards within a certain timeframe.
In other words: it’s the discipline of getting shit, sorry…..things, DONE.

Running your own business is mostly about execution, your ability to complete tasks in a specific timeframe.
The higher the level of your execution and the faster you can make it happen, the more success you are likely to achieve.
If you’re a one-man-show, then execution is everything. No one will do anything for you, it’s all on YOU.

  • You decided to have a couple more hours of sleep instead of going to the post and shipping the items you sold on eBay (and as a result, they will arrive a day later to your customers) – it’s on you.
  • You decided to list those super hot selling items next week instead of now (and next week, 30 more sellers join the party and the margins drop by 80%, while the early movers grossed most of the revenue) – it’s on you.
  • You let potential customers wait 5, 24, 48 hours until they get a reply to their query (by that time, they’ve already bought from the seller who answered in 5 minutes) – it’s on you.
Steve Jobs about execution

Steve Jobs about the importance of execution

Try CrazyLister for free! Easily create professional, mobile-optimized eBay listings

The Importance of Perseverance

Definition: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement..
In other words: The art of NOT GIVING UP.

In the past 9 years, we have had multiple “opportunities” to quit, give up, find a day job….things went south so many times I can barely remember all the meltdowns we went through.
What we did instead was to find a way to survive:

  1. Thorough investigation of the situation to find the main problem
  2. Devised a course of action to solve the main problem
  3. Came up with at least one way to improve on previous situation
  4. Executed the selected course of action in a timely manner (yes that means setting strict deadlines!)

That’s exactly what we did when $20K worth of goods went missing and customers were raining fury on us.

Ben Horowitz is one of the most prominent entrepreneurs and investors in history. He sold his company to HP for $1.6 Billion but the road to that exit was hard, very hard. Ben’s book from 2014, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”, was his attempt to be honest about how difficult it is build and run a startup. This gives you some context to the quote below.

Ben telling about the difficulties of running a startup

Ben telling about the difficulties of running a startup

The Importance of “Killing your Business”…every day

In other words, we never took our business for granted, we always challenged ourselves to think:

  • What if our sales suddenly drop tomorrow?
  • What if a new seller offers a better value proposition?
  • Is our value proposition good enough?
  • What if a new model comes out tomorrow? Can we get it? From who? How fast?
  • What if our supplier goes out of business?
  • What if our supplier decides to raise prices?
  • What if our main delivery courier raises prices by 10%?
  • What is the next product to kill our product? How will we react? Do we have a plan?

In CrazyLister, we keep going through this practice and follow our competition really closely to make sure that CrazyLister’s solution is ALWAYS the most advanced and gives the most value to the users. It’s not one step ahead of the competition, but hopefully 4-5 steps, so that even if someone tries to catch-up, we will have enough time to build this gap again and stay way ahead.
In order to really understand your business, you have to dig in deep and know how you can change it in multiple directions.

John F. Kennedy about changing things

John F. Kennedy about changing things

Your Turn – Share your experience

Everything I wrote is our own personal experience with building an online business in the past 10 years. Hopefully, it has helped you gain some insight into what it takes to make money on eBay and, more importantly, how to build a successful business no matter the industry you’re in.
I’m sure that you have an interesting story to tell and I’d be happy if you left a comment and shared.
I’ll raise the stakes – the most interesting story shared in the comments below (you guys get to decide by up-voting the comments) gets a free CrazyLister account for 3 months!

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