My step by step process of becoming rich
Ebay side hustle

Any avid follower of this blog would be aware of my current eBay side hustle, where I’m importing goods from China, selling them on eBay for a pretty significant mark up. I’ve learned a couple of valuable lessons over the past two weeks that other hustlers need to know, which I’ve listed below.

Don’t sell anything fragile

The biggest (and hardest) lesson that I’ve learned is that sending anything fragile in the post is fraught with serious danger. Sometimes, no matter how well you pack something, things can go wrong and fragile items can break.

My first lot of inventory has sold incredibly well, problem is they’ve proven to be very fragile. More than 10% have been returned due to breakages (thanks a lot Australia Post!). The refunds and replacements have become a very costly exercise, eating dramatically into my profits. It also has the potential to create negative seller feedback on my eBay account, which will harm my potential to be a Power Seller.

Work out how much time is going in to packaging and sending

I’ve had to change the packaging on my items because of the breakages. Unfortunately this has slowed down my “production time”, taking way too long to secure items for shipping. I tend to package up items in the evening when I’m watching some TV, so I shouldn’t mind too much, but the time is becoming too taxing. I’m probably only making $3 – 4 an hour for each hour spent on running the eBay business. At that amount, it’s not worth it.

Keep control of your input costs

After the debacle of multiple breakages, I’ve had to completely change the way I send my items, including having to spend more money on packaging (using bubble pack envelopes) and postage ($1.40 per item rather than $0.70). Yet again, it’s eating into my profit margins…

Be prepared for success

My items have sold well. Very well in fact! Problem is, I just don’t have any scale in my business, so packaging and sending has just become a huge chore.

Thankfully I thought ahead and had purchased a heap of packaging and stamps in advance.

Next steps?

I still have about three quarters of my inventory left of this particular item but I can’t see myself continuing to sell them anymore. The payback really isn’t worth it.

Am I giving up selling on eBay? No chance!

I have just had to rethink my strategy. I need to sell higher value items (around $10 per unit sale price), that are running a 50% margin after all costs. They also need to be able to withstand postage.

I have some more items on the way from China, hopefully they will fit the bill.


  • Daniel Flucke
    on 12/04/2014

    Ouch! I can see how that’d be really frustrating. Have you considered going through Fulfillment by Amazon? It might cut into your margins a little, but it’d safe a lot of packaging hassle. Just a thought. Good luck!

  • Michelle
    on 14/04/2014

    I am dealing with an Ebay payment issue right now that is being brought to the police. I’m not sure if I will ever sell on Ebay again after this experience. That being said, I have had great experiences on it and have made about 1k casually selling items from my grandmother’s house.
    Michelle recently posted…Weekly Roundup #25: The Dreaded Baseball SeasonMy Profile

    • Project Ikonz
      on 16/04/2014

      Ebay isn’t for the faint of heart, I still have to manage with some customers that are rude/complete douche bags. At this stage, I have to keep a smile on my face and live with it, just to keep my feedback score at 100%.

      Sorry to hear your experience has been so rough! What happened?

  • Addison @ Cashville Skyline
    on 14/04/2014

    I haven’t actually tried to sell anything on Ebay yet, but I’ve certainly considered it for a long time. The packaging and sending would definitely be a hassle for me, so I may need to try it during a less busy time. Best of luck!
    Addison @ Cashville Skyline recently posted…Five Things That Blew My Mind This WeekMy Profile

    • Project Ikonz
      on 14/04/2014

      The packaging and sending is a killer! It’s not too bad if you can estimate postage costs and buy stamps/packaging in advance and store it at home.
      I’m definitely going to keep at it though.

  • Holly@ClubThrifty
    on 15/04/2014

    Hey, that sounds like an awesome side gig! I wonder what would resell well in the U.S.!?!?!?!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Why I Would Rather Be Poor Than Work for Someone ElseMy Profile

    • Project Ikonz
      on 16/04/2014

      There’s so much opportunity out there Holly! It’s all about research – you don’t need to find a niche product that no one else sells, just a product that sells a LOT!!

  • No Nonsense Landlord
    on 15/04/2014

    I have sold a few things on eBay, and it is a lot of work. It takes a lot of volume to make money.

    But keep up the great work, and get a great seller score, and it helps.
    No Nonsense Landlord recently posted…How I turned a Class ‘D’ Apartment Classification complex into a Class ‘B’ complex.My Profile

    • Project Ikonz
      on 16/04/2014

      Agree on the seller score, it’s essential to making sure your product moves. Gets you bumped up the “best match” listings.

  • Bryce @ Save and Conquer
    on 16/04/2014

    As I was reading your post, I was thinking all along that you needed to come up with some sort of high-margin product that would pay for the time you spend packaging and shipping. And then you write the same thing at the end of your post.

    Good luck with your ebay side hustle.
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  • The Nair Couple
    on 17/04/2014

    It is very difficult to sell anything on ebay for a reasonable price (as a business), there is just too much competition. Unless you are importing from China or something of that sort like you mentioned. For selling used goods, its great since you are just looking to get anything for it. However, when it comes to buying used good, ebay is great.
    The Nair Couple recently posted…Best Home Theater PC Build, An Affordable Home TheaterMy Profile

  • Mel @ brokeGIRLrich
    on 17/04/2014

    I do love eBay, but it’s definitely not “easy money.” I think I always just appreciate that when I need a few extra dollars and I’m willing to put in the time, it always seems to work out well.

    I did have a heartbreaking incident once when I bought this stupid owl bank at Poundland when I was at school in the UK. I wound up not using it for anything and just threw it in my suitcase at Christmas and brought it home. I put it up on eBay and it brought in like $35. That was RIDICULOUS. But I guess I didn’t pack it well enough and it broke before it got to the lady. Ugh.

    I was all set to leave all my clothes in England and just move back home with a bag full of Poundland owl banks in the spring… but there weren’t any more in stock.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Someone Asked You to Be a Reference – Now What? Part IIMy Profile

  • Clarisse @ Savvy Scot
    on 21/04/2014

    I made a purchased before on Ebay and that was an educational book. I really tried to avoid buying fragile things, thankfully I didn’t have any issues with purchasing on Ebay, the seller was so friendly and accommodating.
    Clarisse @ Savvy Scot recently posted…Carnival of retirement, Happy Easter!My Profile

  • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank
    on 21/04/2014

    Australia post is horrendous and their international delivery costs are outrageous.

    Finding the right product to sell is really difficult as with most things there just isn’t enough money in it to be bothered, plus you need to store it and ship it and if you spend more than $1,000 importing it, you will get stung with customs fees and charges which can get super pricey.

    No wonder no one wants to do business in Australia.
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  • Ansh
    on 27/04/2014

    Even I also had bad experiences with ebay initially regarding payments but from last 6-7 months. Its working fine… I hope ebay will take care of your issues ASAP…
    Ansh recently posted…11 Best FAQ, Knowledge Base & WordPress Wiki Themes 2014My Profile

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde
    on 01/05/2014

    We just started selling some things of my son’s on eBay, but I can’t imagine basing a whole business off of it. I would be afraid to pick something that wouldn’t sell and then I would have a basement full of bobble heads no one wants or something like that.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Does money make you happy? {Infographic}My Profile

  • Jrod @
    on 03/05/2014

    You know, I tried the eBay thing once. It just didn’t work out for me. I think for me, it’s more of a headache than it’s worth! Hopefully you get the payments issue taken care of soon!
    Jrod @ recently posted…To 5 Personal Finance Apps Of 2014My Profile

  • Chadrack
    on 08/09/2014

    But Ebay really that much of a hustle? I’ve seen many online marketers recommend it as a great place to start making money online. Really need to read more on this before attempting to do anything there! :)
    Chadrack recently posted…Cheap Airport Parking: How to Save Big On Your Next Parking Fees!My Profile

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