Successful eBay Selling: Evolution Of An eBay Mutant

By Donovan Baldwin

Many successful eBay sellers have two things in common:

  • The way they got started on their individual paths to success, and
  • The number of additional sales they COULD have made if they had just learned a little more about one other subject...internet marketing.


Almost everybody selling things on eBay for a living, or at least for a recognizable income, started the same way...by intentional accident. Usually, they have become intrigued by the phenomenon, looked around their house and found a few things to test the waters with, and after that, they were hooked! That's the birth. After that comes evolution.

Once they run out of things to sell, but have been struck by the business opportunity lurking on eBay, they have to find other sources of eBay merchandise. This problem is solved in various ingenious ways. Some link up with a wholesale drop ship operation, some find merchandise elsewhere, such as at auctions and estate sales, while some create their own products.

Having gotten a product source, they still had to learn...learn...learn. In general, becoming a success at selling on eBay is comprised of varying amounts of research, study, trial-and-error, failure, success...and luck.


Many eBay sellers arrive at this particular internet business niche independently of a previous internet marketing experience. As a result, while successful in their own area of expertise, eBay, they often miss cues and opportunities that an experienced internet marketer would pick up on or take advantage of. They lack knowledge of ways that they could expand the auction success by applying some standard internet marketing techniques.


eBay has now been such a successful internet phenomenon for long enough that the evolutionary path of eBay selling has produced experts. In true entrepreneurial spirit, some of these experts are now sharing their hard-won knowledge by publishing courses on the subject. As in many things, there are good courses, there are not-so-good courses, and there are plain awful ones. Their prices range anywhere from a few dollars to a great many dollars, and the process is still new and fluid enough that few, if any, can truly claim to be major players.


Many people do not take the plunge simply because of an uncertainty and fear of failure due to ignorance. If they have visited the eBay site, they have often be over-whelmed by all the links, warnings, and terms specific to eBay. It seems as if they have wandered into a meeting of a secret organization and lack the password and handshake, and they feel that anything they do will be greeted with derision, if not complete animosity.

One thing that almost any course about selling on eBay can do is familiarize you to some extent with the experience. That will erase some of the fear and uncertainty. A GOOD course on selling on eBay can cut your evolutionary time considerably because the author will have already been there and can guide you past some of the pitfalls and help you mutate more quickly than you could grow through simple evolution. The lag time between first eBay auction and the point where you consider yourself to at least be skilled at the process, if not yet wealthy from it, can be cut considerably.

Although not immediately necessary to learning the eBay process, learning something about internet marketing as well can help you expand your opportunity beyond just the auctions. Fortunately, there are eBay selling courses that cover at least some of the internet marketing aspects as well.


The easiest way to get started selling on eBay, with or without a course, is to do what so many others have done. Look around the house and find a couple of things you think SOMEONE will possibly want to buy. Remember, the purpose here is to learn the process, not to get rich. In fact, even if the item doesn't sell, you will have benefited from the experience. Be aware, however, that you will have fees to pay even if your item does not sell. This is not a terrible thing because, unless you have bought every possible option, these costs should be minimal. Chalk it up to tuition. Anyway, if this test develops into a real internet business those expenses become tax deductions.


Give eBay a shot with a couple of sales of things you already have just to see what's going on and how you feel about it. If you believe that this might be a business you want to get involved in, get yourself a course and learn a little bit more about the business before you leap in with both feet...or with your wallet in your hand. It's better to spend a few bucks up front and realize the experience is not for you, than it is to spend a lot of bucks and experience a great deal of frustration only to learn that you should have let this opportunity pass you by.

Donovan Baldwin is a freelance writer and successful Internet entrepreneur currently living in Stone Mountain, GA. A graduate of the University Of West Florida (1973) with a BA in accounting, he is a past member of Mensa and has held several managerial positions. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, he became interested in Internet marketing and developed various online businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. He has a blog on the subject of senior health and fitness at http://fitness-after-40.ws.

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