Issue #1, Welcome Edition

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Highest item sold on eBay


This is your first issue of The Seller Success Newsletter. I’m excited you signed up & I can’t wait to share some really great information with you.

Whether you’re just starting your eBay business or you’ve been at it a while, the tips, tricks, hacks and advice in these newsletters will save you time, money and frustration. You will understand and be able to use the full power of eBay and reach your selling potential much, much faster. 

Most of what I write about has been discovered by trial and error over the past 12 years. Some techniques are borrowed from other areas of e-commerce, others have been found through a LOT of split testing. I have always struggled with motivation and procrastination so I like to share my advice for overcoming that too.

No matter where you are with your selling now, there’s always room for improvement.  In every issue you’ll find tips that you can use TODAY to make huge leaps in your business.

Wishing you every success in business and life.


In this issue:

  • Article 1
  • Article 2
  • Article 3

Understanding your Newsletter.

This Newsletter is quite unique in that it is created and viewed online, on a live website. Each month, you will be emailed a link so that you can access that months newsletter and you will view it, just as you are viewing this one.

The menu will bring you to the archives of previous newsletters (as we grow). In time, each article will be added to the blog post database and sorted by category, making it easier for you to come back and find the information you read previously.

Everyone will receive this Newsletter, Issue 1 as their first Newsletter. Subsequent Newsletters will be delivered on the 3/4th of each month so you may receive your second Newsletter only a few days after this one if you signed up close to the 3rd of the month.

Fee-free Selling….

Depending on your mindset, this is possible!

Before I get into this article, I do just want to make the point that as far as operating costs go, selling on eBay is pretty reasonable.

It’s easy to get sucked into the argument that “eBay and PayPal fees are crippling my business” Yes, it sucks to hand over a portion of your sales but compared to other business models the costs of operating your eBay account/ store/ business are minimal. The barrier to entry is practically non-existent and almost anyone can wake up in the morning, decide to start selling on eBay and have an international business up and running by lunchtime.

Changing your mindset to accept the fees as the cost of doing business on eBay, will go a long way in preserving your selling mental health!

Take it or leave it

I should point out that, personally, I don’t say the above lightly. I have battled with myself for nearly 10 years over eBay fees.  The fees are too high……the service is poor……the customer service is terrible…they’re pushing out the small seller. Every month, my blood near boiled when my invoice email landed in my inbox. “They’re charging me HOW MUCH!!” My list of complaints was almost endless BUT it can get soul-draining if you let it.

2 years ago, I consciously changed my mindset to accept the fees and eBay for what they are….fees for a service that I can choose to use or not. My choice.  If I have such an issue with them, nobody was forcing me to sell on eBay. And I could fight it or accept it. That decision was liberating and it leads me to article I intended to write when I sat down!

Cost of sales

No matter what you sell or how you source your stock, if you are selling on eBay with the intention of making a profit, you should think of your little (or big) enterprise as a “business”.

For most of us, success can be measured in dollars, euros or pounds. Of course, there are many facets to success and different people will measure success differently but to be blunt, no business will survive long if your business isn’t making more money than it is spending.

However you chose to do it, you should keep track of all your “business” expenses. The 4 main ones are –

  • eBay seller fees and PayPal costs.
  • Postage supplies, printer ink etc
  • Any software or programs you use
  • the cost of your inventory

Have a good idea of your average cost of consumables – paper, labels, ink, envelopes etc. (which may take a month or two to figure out). Know approximately how much each mailer/ box/ jiffy bag costs. If you print labels, invoices or notes, work out a cost per order and apply it to every sale.

In my case, I sell such a variety of items that in the beginning this was a little tricky but after 2 or 3 months I was able to figure out reasonably accurate averages. I mostly use bubble-lined jiffy envelopes (I call them padded envelopes!) but sometimes I use polybags. I use them in all sizes but I calculated an average cost of 90c. I have a printed note, a printed address label, and a printed return label. Sometimes I use tissue, sometimes a box, sometimes some bubble wrap. Over the course of 2 months, I estimated that a package costs me approx €1.40 and a small/ medium box costs me €2.20. I know now that I need to add €1.40 to my expenses when I sell a small item. I also know that €1.40 is gone from my profit when an item sells. I also use 2 pieces of software totaling $70 per month.

There are 2 ways of approaching your eBay finances. I recommend method 1 for those starting out or for those first few months.


Method 1: Work out your cost per sale, i.e. your costs associated with each sale

A) cost of packaging the item & sending it to the buyer +

B) eBay & PayPal fees +

C) software or additional fees (calculated by dividing the number iof sales that month by the cost of software ir whatever)= COST PER SALE

This is useful as over time you will build up a picture of where you can save money and it will help you judge the viability of items when sourcing. For example, if my average cost of sales (A + B+ C) is $4, I know the first $4 of any “profit” has been swallowed up.

Method 2: Totals + Totals

Simply take your total sales for that month, subtartc the cost of buying the sold items, subtract your eBay and PayPal fees, subtract your cost of shipping supplies for all sold items, subtarct the cost of any software. Done

Now I just add in the cost of this software to my monthly figures but back when I was working out my cost of sales I divied the number of sales by the cost of the siftware i.e. 60 sales that month divided by $70 software costs = 1.16c per item that month

If I add this to my 15% seller fees (approx 10% to ebay + 4% to paypal) and the cost of the item then I have


I personally love the financial side of my eBay business BUT it is time-consuming and does distract me from doing other things. I feel it is time well-spent. If you don’t know how you’re figures are adding up, you can’t measure success, you can’t spot winning trends, you can’t distinguish the success of one strategy over another, you don’t know if you’re making or losing money!

Doing what you hate

I often hear clients say “I don’t like spreadsheets” or “I don’t like xxx software” what else can I use to keep track of my bottom line? I usually have one unpopular response…..”tough”. Honestly, there may be several elements of your eBay business that you don’t like, some you can try and avoid but some just have to be done. (For me – I hate the packaging. There’s no way around it, it HAS to be done!)

eBay does show you your basic costs and at an absolute minimum I would recommend a month end review of your business and keeping track – even on paper of how healthy (or not) your bottom line is.

Check out your sales vs fees from your seller hub and invoice. Add your additional known costs and pat yourself on the back because you now have an overview of your eBay business health. (I’m no accountant but I only factor in spend on consumables and inventory that are related to the sales in that month.)

Below I will share with you my super simple spreadsheet and inventory system that I hope even the most die-hard spreadsheet hater can manage!



#2 Your description and your title are………

You will no doubt have read in countless places online how important your title is, maybe (less so) how important your description is. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest reasons why many sellers (old and new) fail to get the sales they expect.

Buyers will come across your listing


*new listing experiement

and it is absolutely true.


eBay gives an option to “search description”


#2 Feedback is not as important as some experts would have you believe.

Yes you read that right. Yes, you absolutely should strive to achieve and maintain 100% feedback but not at all costs. Don’t be bullied by a buyer. Lately eBay has been making serious efforts to side more with sellers and it is worth fighting you case. Read _my story_ Have a browse on eBay for a popular item, for example “iphone case”. I bet the first few results will have sellers with less than stellar feedback – but they still show in the top 3. People still buy from them. If you’re like me, I watched my feedback like a hawk – i was desperate for that number to climb and for it to stay at 100%. Remember your feedback score is a rolling total spanning 12 months AND it’s impact is affected by the quantity of feedbacks you have.

#3 Don’t be afraid of buyers.

This ties in with point no. 2 above and to make my point see my story _here_.The vast majority of buyers and people

Think about....

Make plans…and plan! When you come up with an idea, no matter how big or small. Plot out a successful path. I find this works best WRITTEN DOWN on paper. Ask yourself – “What does success look like and how will I get there?” You can write an epic essay, some bullet points, a mind-map. whatever works to help you plan to implement an idea or strategy from START to FINISH. You might make a few drafts before coming up with THE PLAN. Don’t spend to long, you can fill in blanks as you go and as you learn ad as (and it will happe) you need to amend tour plan. Be clear. Make the goals small, doable and have a

[Video] Meta Keywords

(Meta-What!!? Don’t worry, it’s all explained)

Reader Poll

Just 2 quick questions for you. (Scroll within the text box to move down) Poll results are shown after you click on submit. Poll is currently not available on mobile devices – sorry!

Feedback Explained

Most sellers will do almost anything to prevent a negative feedback or risk their feedback percentage falling below 100%
If you are unlucky enough to get dinged with a negative feedback, this post will explain what you can do about it and hopefully make you feel less upset about it!
I have written before about not getting hung up on maintaining 100% feedback. However, when you are new or in the early days/ months of selling on eBay, you should take extra care to avoid any negative or neutral feedback. Those first 100 feedbacks are critical.
Here’s a quick explainer of how eBay’s feedback calculation works and what it means for you.
There are 2 elements to understand in feedback:
1.eBay feedback “rolls” every 12 months
2. it is dependant on feedback quantity.
eBay state that “The positive Feedback percentage is calculated based on the total number of positive and negative Feedback ratings for transactions that ended in the last 12 months, excluding repeat Feedback from the same member for purchases done within the same calendar week.”
And a feedabck score is calculated by: Positives / ( Positives + negatives )
In simple terms… a feedback has a life of one year from the date the relevant transaction was made and the more feedback you get, the less the impact of a negative or neutral.
Let’s look at Joe and Sarah. They are both new sellers. They both have a feedback score of 9 from 9 positive feedbacks. So they have 100% Feedback 9/9+0 = 1 0r 100%.
On June 1st, 2016, Joe sells a watch for which the buyer leaves him a negative feedback. This is his 10th feedback. As his 10th feedback is negative, his feedback score will be 90%. 9/ 9 + 1 = 0.9 or 90% In other words, one of his 10 feedbacks is negative. (One of 10 or 10%)
Let’s imagine that Joe never sells anything else on eBay. This negative feedback, like all feedback, has a “shelf-life” of one year. So on June 2nd, 2017, Joe will return to 100% as his negative will have expired and he will again have 9/9+0 = 1 0r 100%. 
On the other hand, if over the next 11 or so months, Joe builds up a further 1000 feedbacks and assuming he gets no more negatives, he will have 1 negative and 1009 positives. So 1009/ 1009 + 1 = 99.9%. But come June 2nd his negative will have expired and he will again have 100%
Sarah’s situation is the same case, if over the same time period, she only builds up 400 feedbacks, the impact of the one negative will be less than when she only had 10 feedbacks but more than if she had 1000.  400/ 409 + 1 = 97.5%
Here’s an example. This seller has 100% feedback
But, I know this seller as they were a client of mine and they previously had a few negatives.
Now, do you see over to the right where it says “More than a year ago? This negative is there for all to see if you go looking but because it happened more than one year ago, eBay no longer factors it into the feedback calculation.

What can you do if you get a negative feedback?

First, remember it will only last one year. Little comfort at the time, I know but the point is, it will go!
Then, TAKE ACTION. More positive feedback will dilute the negative feedback. Increase your feedback in one of two ways.
1. Sell more! I know, I know… you’re trying to sell more already but in this case, sell for the sake of selling, not to make a profit. Buy some stock from China, arbitrage from eBay or local stores. Buy low and sell low. Literally, sell at a price that shifts the stuff and covers your costs. The aim is to purely bump up your POSITIVE feedback score to increase your percentage.
2. This is something I actively encourage anyway….Fish for feedback from every sale (If you aren’t already). If you are already fishing for feedback then maybe consider changing tactic, if your conversion rate is not good. In your package note, request feedback. In your dispatch email, request it. Follow up with them after some time (See quick tip #2). Not every buyer will leave feedback, so you really need to encourage buyers with friendly, timely reminder.
If the worst comes to the worst, you may need to ditch that account for the time being and work off your backup account.

Good to Know.....For Newbies

I see this issue raised so often. New sellers wondering why PayPal withholds their payments from buyers and what they can do to speed up the process. Unfortunately you can’t! So see below from eBay….you must wait 90 days, complete 25 transactions and the sale of €250 worth of goods “New sellers experience short delays in payments. It’s a way to vet newcomers’ legitimacy and keep the marketplace safe. Don’t get frustrated. After 90 days, the completion of 25 transactions, and the sale of $250 worth of goods, you’ll get the same quick payments as an experienced seller.”

Quick Tip #2: Open multiple accounts

You are allowed to have more than one eBay account – and you should! At the very least, you should have a “buyer” account for all your personal purchases and a “seller” account where you obviously sell from. Many sellers use an eBay arbitrage strategy, buying from eBay to re-sell on eBay.  So if you think that might be a good fit for your business, you definitely don’t want your sellers to be able to see that you only paid $3 for that shirt when you’re asking $15. Even if you don’t plan on arbitraging, you never know what’s around the corner or when you might unintentionally run foul of eBay’s rules. Having another account to quickly switch over to can save a lot of headaches.

Quick Tip #2: Keep an eBay Folder

Have one main folder on your computer with all your eBay files. Keep it organized with sub-folders for images, inventory, sourcing, descriptions, etc., whatever you might need. Keep it organized in folders that make sense for your business. As a guide to yourself, name files and folders with instantly recognizable names. A folder of images named with today’s date won’t, might help for today’s listings but won’t help in 4 weeks when you need to find that image. Don’t forget to keep a backup of this folder or even better, use dropbox or google drive to store the folder and keep a copy to access on your computer.

Selling Outside the Box

Ideas & Inspiration for your next online project

You will come to realise that this is my favourite Newsletter section. Of course, every reader of my Newsletter is getting the same idea and some will say that when many people act on the same idea, the market becomes flooded and you all become competitors. This is not the case. Firstly, I am more than happy for you all to copy this idea to the letter. Some will take action, some will not. Some will improve on these ideas and expand beyond what I give here and some will just take inspiration and follow a completely different path.  The point is…not everyone will do the same thing with this information and there’s room for everyone. This week I present…..Home-made fidget spinners

  • Niche: Arts & Cratfs/ Crafting
  • Demographic: Mums/ Parents/ Minders of 8+ Year Olds
  • Social Media: facebook/ pinterest/ youtube
  • Cost of Goods: Very Low
  • Cost to send: Very Low
  • Potential to Grow & Scale: Very High
  • Ease of implementation: Very Easy

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