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How to Use eBay to Teach Entrepreneurship to Children: Going Pickin’

Now that we’ve talked about what is eBay and profit & loss, it’s time to go pickin’! This is the best part of the whole business… the time you get to spend buying stuff. However, there is a lot of strategy that needs to be considered and taught here. We don’t just buy everything we see that we think will sell. Here are some things to teach your child when you’re teaching them how to sell on eBay:

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What to Buy

Before heading to the garage sales or thrift store, it would be a good idea to show your child some examples of things to look for. Something that is really easy are men’s neck ties. Just look in the sold listings on eBay to find some brands that sell often for a decent amount. This would be a great way to get started. Also, if you have a smart phone, you can download the eBay app and do some research right on the spot if you find something you think might have some worth. If you don’t have a smart phone, make a call to someone at home or who could look up an item for you on eBay real quick.


We have passed up many great items just because the price was too high. This is really difficult to do, but you must remember that the point is to make a profit. We don’t want to give items away. This goes along with researching your items… the idea is still “buy low, sell high”. When you’re looking at an item, we suggest that you determine if you can sell it for 5 times it’s cost. If it’s $2, can it sell for at least $10? If not, you should really consider whether it is worth your time.

Your Time

Is the item going to require any repairs, cleaning, testing, etc? How much time will it take to do this? The time required to make the item look nice and test is worth it if it has good resell value, but if it has little value it may be best to move on. However, for a child, if it’s something easy they can do… let them go for it. After all, this is a learning experience for them.


What type of shipping materials is this going to require and what is the risk of the item breaking during shipping? When we’re looking at items, we always consider if it will fit in one of the free USPS boxes or if we will need to find our own box. If it’s a large item, it will require much more packing materials and time. Also, we tend to stay away from the glass items (although there are many people making good money off glass). For a child getting started, we would recommend staying away from the breakables. This gives one less reason for a buyer to leave negative feedback… guess that’s why we love selling clothing so much! 🙂

Have Fun

This is a lot of business talk and seriousness, but the best part about pickin’ is just having fun! Make it a competition to see who can find the best item or who can find the most deals for less than $20. It’s a great way to spend time together as a family and get your children interesting an entrepreneurship.

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