So, you just finished cleaning out the attic and your neighbor told you her cousin’s nephew’s girlfriend’s brother’s uncle makes money selling collectibles online and you should try it, too. And you’re thinking, yeah, that sounds like a pretty good idea. I think I’ll quit my job and get right on that. Everybody else makes money on the Internet. I. Can. Too!
Well, hold on there, Hoss. Yeah, lots of people do make money selling collectibles online. But if you’ve never done it before, you better hang on to that day job for just a little while longer!
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions selling collectibles online is Ebay. There are other sites, like Etsy, or you can set up your own website or online store. But here’s the thing. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re in big trouble.
One Man’s Trash…
That old, rusted out, little red wagon you found in the attic might have great sentimental value for you, and you might not be willing to part with it for less than $3 million. But one man’s treasure is another man’s trash and a collectible is only worth what the buyer standing in front of you – right this minute – is willing to pay for it. If you want to make money selling collectibles you have to take sentiment out of the equation and do the research to find out what the market will bear.
Knowing the market value of your collectibles is important for two reasons. Obviously, if you want them to sell, you have to price them accordingly. But if you’re really going to dive into this business than you’re going to need a lot more merchandise than what you found in your attic. Which means you’re going to start buying collectibles, too. And this is where most people fail. They let sentiment cloud their buying decisions and then they can’t recoup their investment because the market just won’t bear the markup.
There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
Before you actually dive into this I’m hoping you do a little research on Ebay. You’ll notice that most of the big sellers offer free shipping on all orders, or free shipping on orders over…. Do you know how much it will cost you to send that rusty, old little red wagon to someone on the other side of the planet? Can you say, “Honey! We need to mortgage the house!”
Before you put together a free shipping offer or some other type of special offer, do the research to find out what that offer is going to cost YOU. Because there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!
This Rare, One-Of-A-Kind Collectible Can be Yours
In this day and age there are very few rare, one-of-a-kind collectibles. We’ve been on this planet long enough now and manufacturers learned a long time ago how to mass produce products that last. But, then again, you might have the only issue of a rare Richie Rich comic book in existence. Again, before you can make money selling collectibles online, you need to do the research to find out just how collectible they are.
How do Those Sellers Make Money on Ebay?
Most of those top-rated sellers you see on Ebay have been in business for a long time. They make very little profit on each individual sale but they make it up in volume. Here’s what you need to do:
Spend time on the site: Spend some time looking at the other vendors. What are they selling? How much are they charging? Who’s paying the shipping? What are they doing to make themselves stand out? How can you compete?
Talk to people: Talk to other collectibles sellers, visit flea markets and antique stores to find out the trends, read magazines, watch that TV show, talk, talk, talk to people. You can make a killing in the collectibles market if you’re one of the first on the scene with the newest hot trend. Again, it’s all about research in this business.
Specialize: As with any other type of Internet marketing, the best way to really make money selling collectibles online is to specialize. Become an authority on Hall Pottery or Fiesta Ware. Learn everything there is to know about paper dolls. When buyers find out you specialize in a particular area, they’re more apt to come to you when they’re looking for something because they think you’re the authority on the subject. And well you should be if you’re going to get involved in the collectibles arena.
But specializing also helps you make more money. People who sell collectibles generally do specialize and when they come across something that doesn’t fall into their niche they often offer it up at a discount to fellow dealers just to get it off their hands. This is another reason it’s important to do your research and talk to people.
Develop an Attitude: I said it earlier, you have to leave sentiment completely out of the picture. It doesn’t matter how much YOU would pay for something. What matter is how much your BUYER is willing to pay. And you’ve got to do the research beforehand or you’re going to get taken to the cleaners. Because those other sellers out there? They’re ruthless!
Learn How the Internet Works: If you want to make money selling collectibles online then you’re going to need to know about things like keywords and indexing and how to create a link and how to use a little html. Ebay is pretty self-explanatory but look at some of those Top Seller sites. And look at some of those personal sites out there on the web. Go ahead and get your feet wet with Ebay but pay attention and learn while you go so you can eventually compete with those guys and make some killer money at this business.