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Ten Tips for a Painless First Sale on eBay

For many would-be sellers, the thought of making a first sale feels like planning to climb Mount Everest. In fact, getting started is not as hard as you might imagine. The best way to begin is to set worries aside and create a listing—and with this article, we’ll help you to take that step while avoiding some common fumbles.

Many new sellers enter e-commerce through eBay, so we’ll be walking through eBay-specific tips here. You can also try your hand at Amazon or Etsy—many (though not all) of the same tips apply.

So—it’s time to reduce worry, avoid trouble, and make your start as an online seller—because the journey of a thousand miles begins with your first sale. Here are the tips:

  1. Focus on the big picture. Your goal in a first sale is to successfully sell and deliver an item—and to become familiar with the experience. You’ll see an entire universe of eBay tips, tricks, and best practices out there, but for your first sale, keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t get so lost in details that you fail to take the plunge.

  2. Set yourself up with eBay, PayPal, and Terapeak. If you don’t already have eBay and PayPal accounts, visit both websites and create them. It’s free. Do this beforehand, as a prep task in its own right, rather than while also trying to list your product for sale. This is also an ideal time to give Terapeak a try. You can use Terapeak both to find the value of your item and to see listings for other, similar items so that you know how other sellers have presented your product—and what buyers are expecting to see.

  3. Select an inexpensive, but desirable item to sell. Your first sale is a time to learn, not to get rich. Find an item around your house or office to sell, whether in new or used condition. Chose an easily recognizable product, not so inexpensive or common that shoppers are more likely to buy it locally, and not so rare or expensive that your first sale becomes a risky event. An electronics item or other durable indoor good in the $25-$100 value range is a good place to start.

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