One great option is to log onto eBay.com. eBay is a popular website where people buy and sell anything and everything, new or used. Although people think that it's unsafe and you can get scammed, if you do things right, it can be perfectly safe and more exciting than simply throwing things in the trash, not to mention the nice part of making money.
Opening an eBay Account
When opening an eBay account, you should also open an account with Paypal.com, a website that is used to complete the transactions once you buy or sell an item. At this website, you will create an account and attach either a bank account or a credit card to it. Once that is done, you will be contacted to get your information verified in order to prevent fraud. It is a very secure system, so you can rest easy using PayPal.
Building up your eBay Rating
Every user has a rating that others can see. For every successful transaction you complete, you get a positive rating, and for unsuccessful transactions, a negative rating.
Try buying small items to help build up your rating. Thus your reputation will increase, you will gain experience, and it can save you money. Things such as ink cartridges, CDs, and other small items are a lot cheaper on eBay compared to retail prices.
Once you have bought a product, paid for it, received it in the mail, and are satisfied with it, you leave the seller positive feedback, and his or her rating will go up by one. Once the seller has been satisfied, he or she will leave you positive feedback in return, and your rating will also go up.
Describing the Product
First, gather as much information as possible on your product. For example, if the item is a digital camera, you will want the resolution, zoom, weight, battery life, etc. This can be found on the manufacturer's website.
Include as much information as you can, because what may seem unimportant to you can be a deciding factor for the buyer. This also saves you time, because potential buyers won't have to ask you for information.
A few sentences or paragraphs describing the product can also be helpful. These can be found on websites that review different products. If the product doesn't have information as readily available, such as a lamp, then a simple paragraph describing it should be sufficient. It should include the features and any specific points people should know about, such as a scratch.
This brings us to the next point: If there is anything wrong with the item, declare it from the beginning. If you don't say anything and the buyer realizes it once they've received the item, this will cause more problems for you.
Don't sell anything without pictures of the item, because that turns potential customers away. Include three to four pictures of the item. eBay allows you to host one free picture, and they charge you for every additional one. However, you can upload your pictures to a free image-hosting website, and then, using some HTML, you can incorporate the pictures into your selling page, without having to pay eBay for it.
When selling an item, the buyer pays for the product, plus a shipping fee that you set. You can decide how much you want to charge for each destination. Many people mark up the shipping fee to make more money. Others put a reasonable price that attracts buyers, but then you won't be making that extra money. You can also offer multiple services to the same destination, such as ground shipping or air shipping, etc.
The title is what shows up in searches made by buyers and is also displayed at the top of your page. The more keywords that are in your title, the more likely it is to show up in searches. So make the title something that describes your item while at the same time catches people's attention. Using exclamation marks or capital letters can also help. If you pay an extra fee, you can have your title bolded or highlighted when it shows up on search pages.
Now, the listing is set up and ready to be put up. From here on, to the ending time of the auction chosen by you (be it one day or a week) all you have to do is watch people bid on your item and answer any questions that people may send regarding the product. Once it is over, eBay will automatically send both you and the buyer a copy of the invoice. You will be notified when the buyer will send money to your PayPal account.
PayPal takes a fee of three percent of any money that you receive. Also, eBay takes a flat fee for selling an item, plus additional fees if you choose to show pictures, bold your title, or any other extra features. They also take an additional percentage of the final selling price (excluding the shipping fee), so you should factor in these costs, plus the shipping cost.
Once you receive the money, you must ship the product to the buyer. You should notify the buyer by email that you have received the payment and have shipped the item. Don't forget that once the buyer receives the item and is satisfied, he or she will leave you positive feedback and in return, you would leave him a positive feedback. You can then transfer the money from your PayPal account to your bank account.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally appeared in a previous issue of Islamic Insights.