Monday, April 20, 2015

Badass Biz: Kimberly, Published Writer, Mom Turns eBay into a $3K/Month Gig

Does anyone feel secure with work these days? From my chats with people from all walks of life, universally, the answers is no. There's less work, and every employer is asking more out of employees because pliant applicants are ripe for the picking in this economy. We're all over-worked and under-paid. Many are losing jobs. It's hard when you're a single person, and even worse when you're supporting a family. I am walking away from reselling, but I will always promote it as a powerful source for making an income that anyone can learn. In a world where jobs are less certain, I'm grateful for the internet and reselling as a tool for people in need to earn a flexible living.

Today I'm chatting with Kimberly: wife, mom, teacher, and former children's book writer about how she turned eBay into a $3K per month gig.

1/ Hello Kimberly, please tell us about yourself.
Hi, Van! First of all, thanks for the invite. I'm a long time follower and admirer of your blog, so it's an honor for me to get the opportunity to share with you and your readers. I'm a 41-year old wife and homeschooling mom to three teenagers. In addition to that, I previously wrote children's nonfiction books. But with the new Common Core Standards, publishers are looking to certified teachers to write their nonfiction books instead of writers. So, now I'm enjoying a career as an eBay Top Rated Seller, and frankly, making a lot more money in my new line of work :)

2/ Thank you for sharing all of this info with us! And I really appreciate your feedback on the blog over the years. How long have you been thrifting?
I've always enjoyed the thrill of finding a bargain, but I don't think I gained a true appreciation for all the treasures that could be found until I began to get serious about my eBay business. Now I hardly ever buy anything new.

3/ Can you share your top three thrifting tips?
Be consistent. Do your research (make sure you're going to make a tidy profit when you re-sell). Seek out more than one avenue for thrifting. I started out just hitting up thrift stores. Then I discovered garage sales and flea markets. Eventually, I discovered my favorite- auctions! There are frugal treasures to be found everywhere.

4/ How long have you been selling items on eBay?
I listed my first item just over two years ago.

5/ What led you to become an eBay seller.
My writing gigs were drying up, and my oldest daughter had been accepted into a very prestigious summer ballet intensive program. Readers of my blog know that ballet is her passion, and my husband and I really wanted her to have this opportunity. The only problem was, the cost was going to be over $2,000. We didn't have this extra cash, so we started brainstorming. My husband had several boxes of toys from his childhood in the basement. We decided to look them up and see what they went for on eBay. We were shocked! We sold all of his toys, my daughter went to her intensive, and my new business was born.

6/ If you don't mind telling, how much do you earn monthly and yearly selling items on eBay.
My inventory has continued to grow, and my eye for better quality has continued to develop. Over the last several months, I've consistently made $3,000-$4,000 per month after fees but before expenses (inventory and shipping shipping supplies). I usually spend between $750 and $1,000 on those items.

7/ What did you do in the past before selling on eBay?
I was a nonfiction childrens book author. I have 26 published books to my credit.

8/ How has selling on eBay changed your life?
I work incredibly hard- probably harder than I have at any other job, but I've never been happier. I love the freedom. If my kids have activities at a certain time, I can change my work schedule around to accommodate that and be there for them. Ebay has also given me a greater appreciation for buying used, recycling, and re-purposing. I had no idea how many quality items were being tossed away to thrift stores and garbage cans.

9/ What's your daily work schedule like?
I'm usually up by 6:00 a.m. I get myself ready for the day and have breakfast with my hubby. I wake my kids. While they're getting ready for the day, I answer emails. Around 7:00, I get the kiddos going with their school assignments. They're all old enough now that they work pretty independently. I just explain new topics, hand out assignments, and answer the occasional question. While they're working, I start listing. I set a goal of 10-15 new listing each day. Once my listings are done, I take pictures for the next day's listings. After lunch, I pack up anything that has sold and research and price the items that I will be listing the next day. My work day ends around 3:00 or 4:00.

10/ You're obviously a productive lister, any productivity tips to share?
Try to list like items on the same day. Using the sell similar feature and only making a few minor tweaks to each listing, it's much faster to list 15 coffee mugs then to list 15 items that have nothing in common.
Also, discipline is key. I have favorite tv shows I like to catch up on during my lunch hour, but I don't get to go to lunch until I've reached my listing goals.

11/ How about tips on staying focused?
Make a list and tackle one task at a time. Mix in the fun tasks with the not-so-fun tasks, but work in order and don't move on until the previous task is complete. Also, listing can be boring. To keep myself going, I listen to podcasts that interest me. One of my favorites is Scavenger Life.

12/ What would be your top 5 tips for selling on eBay successfully?

1. Consistent listing. At least a few listings everyday. If you want to take a day off, schedule a few listings ahead of time.

2. Find a few successful mentor sellers that sell the kinds of things you sell. Follow their stores and pay attention to their photographs, descriptions, pricing, etc. Learn from them.

3. Treat your business like a business. Leave emotions out of it. If you screw up, take ownership and take care of your customer immediately. Don't get worked up over returns. It's part of the business. Most regular stores have a 2-3% return rate. It's the cost of doing business.

4. Take the time to pack your items well. If it's breakable, wrap in bubble wrap, double box, and float. You have the sale- don't lose it because of poor packaging.

5. Be open to change. I see so many sellers get worked up every time eBay announces any changes. Instead of getting angry (totally unproductive), put your business hat on and figure out how you are going to make the changes work for your business.

13/ Very agreed on the breakable items. It's the worst when something breaks. How do you store all of your merch?
We have a 500 square feet addition built on to the back of our house.

14/ So lucky! It's so much easier to resell with real, dedicated storage. What types of items do you seek to sell?
Anything that I can make a nice profit on :)

15/ Haha, I feel you. I'd probably still be reselling if I could do that, but I curated for a certain aesthetic. Much harder to make money that way! What's the future hold for your business?
Hopefully, continued growth. Hubby is getting more involved. There is a possibility that his employer will be offering an early retirement buy-out. If that's the case, he's seriously considering joining me full-time in the eBay biz. In any case, I'm grateful to have found something that I truly love doing that provides a nice income :)

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Kimberly blogs about her reselling adventures on the Garage Sale Haven blog. Thanks so much again for sharing this helpful information with us! If you're an indie business owner or maker or any kind, I'm dying to tell your story. E-mail if you'd like to be featured on the blog or share your experiences in the comments.

Any reselling questions and/or tips to share? Let us know in the comments! Yep, my super-detailed reselling ebook is still forthcoming!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. Great interview with one of my favorite reseller/bloggers.

  2. Replies
    1. Indubitably! Love seeing hard work pay off for her :)

    2. Oh, and for her family, of course.

  3. Van, thanks again for the opportunity to share. I had fun! :)

  4. Kimberly is definitely an inspiration. I remember when she first started selling and blogging about it. Her business has really grown and she is generous enough to share what she's learned along with way with all of us. She's awesome!

  5. Kimberly is one of my self-chosen online mentors. Her advice is right on, especially about not getting worked up about eBay changes and customer returns. Visit her blog - she shares a lot of info. I also consider her a Super Woman. I don't know how she does it all!

    1. It's super hard to run an only business, huge investment of time. She does an awesome job.


I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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