Facebook, eBay, Gumtree: How to make money selling online
LAST year I read about a challenge saying you could make over $20,000 a year buying things to resell, so I decided to try it.
Having bought and sold things online previously, I figured it would be something I could do to generate extra money for my daughters and I. My aim was $2000 a month but by my fourth month I was generating over $10,000.
WHAT DID I SELL?
The most common question I get is what was I selling or what do I sell online to generate that? In the first month I mainly sold things I had including jewellery and clothing. Later, I focused on rockabilly clothing and brands I love such as Cue and Review because they sell well, plus camping gear, photography gear, books and things I knew about.
WHERE DID I SELL IT?
Niche Facebook groups have been the best place for the items I sell, particularly the rockabilly clothing and photography gear. I looked up buy, sell, swap groups on Facebook specifically for the items eg camera gear, Hell Bunny, rockabilly BSS and joined the groups to list in them since the people in those groups are looking for the items you are selling. I found the sales in those groups to be quicker and easier, plus there were no fees.
Gumtree was great for camping gear, furniture and some camera equipment and lastly, I used eBay for some items but tried elsewhere first due to the fees.
When it comes to buying things to resell, it helps if you know the value of what you are buying and selling so you can spot things easily and grab them for a bargain. Op shops, garage sales and even Facebook Marketplace are all places you can get items to resell. I tend to look at the clearance racks and bargain basements, buy things in bulk and often get given a discount. If you're shopping at second-hand stores, check if they have a loyalty program as some do and you get a percentage off your next shop.
Choose items which are cheap to post. My preference is clothing because it fits in prepaid satchels which can be bought in bulk, postage is easy and tracked so you don't get caught out. If the item cannot fit into a satchel always check the cost of postage before listing it or allocate a time to do pick-up.
With items being picked up, try to do it somewhere other than your home. Obviously, you can't do that with furniture but other items you can. This protects you because the buyer won't know where you live. The only times I have done pick-up have been when it was furniture and I knew them or when I lived in a secure complex with security guards, cameras and 45 stories of apartments to the building so it was impossible to know which one was me. In that building, I ended up selling so much the building manager checked to ensure I was OK.
When listing, do it of an evening when more people are online and active. This increases your chances of items being seen. Take good, clear photos in natural light during the day and write an accurate description so people can easily tell what they are buying.
Be prepared for issues! Some people don't show up, many will try to haggle prices down and worst still, you might get approached to sell things you don't want to. For example, when I had a bunch of clothes listed on Gumtree I had a guy contacting me asking me to sell my underwear, after I'd worn them (I said no!) but it still shocked me. Also, I have found lately, people ask 101 questions whereas sales used to be quicker and easier.
Lastly, declare the income if you need to. Keep track of it all and if you're on Centrelink you should be declaring it. The ATO checks eBay and social media so if you're not declaring, you could get caught. Yes, you can earn a certain amount as a hobby, but better to be safe than sorry so keep records and declare if you have to.
Overall, buying and reselling online has been a great side gig for me. It's one I can pick up and do when I want to and stop when we travel or life gets too busy.
Kylie Travers is owner of The Thrifty Issue, a site sharing ways for Aussies to make and save money.