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A Toolkit to Get Started Selling on eBay

If you want to sell seriously on eBay (or another online auction site), i.e. do more than get rid of the junk cluttering up your garage or attic, you will find that the following items can really help your business, no matter what you are selling. It is assumed that you own a computer with an internet connection and have already started your account with the online auction venue. This beginner’s toolkit will not magically turn you into an eBay millionaire overnight (and you should beware of anyone making such claims), but it will improve your competitive position.

1. A digital camera. Yes, eBay offers stock photos of items, such as books or DVDs. However, that does not help you if you are selling homemade crafts, for instance, and even if there is a stock photo, you might want to show the item from a different angle, or use a close-up. You do not have to spend a fortune on a high-megapixel model, though an optical zoom, a macro setting and the ability to adjust white balance are essential. Some good information on selecting a camera and photographing auction items can be found at http://www.search.reviews.ebay.com/ members/camerajim/

2. A tripod. No matter how firmly you grip your camera, holding it in your hand can easily introduce some blurring, and auctions with blurry photos are less likely to receive bids. A tripod will improve your photos considerably.

3. A photo-editing program. You will want to crop your image, remove irrelevant elements, adjust brightness and contrast, maybe add text or a border. You do not need an expensive program for this, and the freeware Irfanview (http://www.irfanview.com/) may cover our needs. Also, look at older version of programs such as Microsoft Digital Image, which can be purchased quite cheaply.

4. A digital postal scale. As you will mail out your items to the winning bidders, it is important that you invest in a postal scale, so that you do not over- or underpay on postage.

5. Business cards. Even if you are only starting out to sell online, you want to project a professional image. Have some business cards printed up at an office supply store or one of the many online suppliers (such as www.vistaprint.com) and include your e-mail address and website on them. Slip in a business card with every shipment, and always take some with you, in case your online venture comes up in conversation.

6. Lots of Research. Don’t sell things that you know little or nothing about. Research your articles online and at your local library. Research current prices by checking completed auctions on eBay (do a search for the item, then click on the check box “Completed listings” and search again). You can also use Auction Shark (http://www.auctionshark.com/) to check prices on running auctions at eBay, Amazon, Yahoo and Overstock.com.


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