List smartly to ensure the mud you sling sticks!

‘Throw enough mud at the wall and some of it will definitely stick…’

In business, the above means formulating new money-making ideas, testing new products, introducing your product to new marketplaces… and expecting some of those actions to incur a loss… and others to exceed your highest expectations.

Here are two ways to benefit from that information…

1) Add the ‘80/20’ rule to the mix and expect one in five of those actions to recoup their investment and incur a profit, as well as offsetting losses from unsuccessful ones.

In brief, the 80/20 rule – also known as Pareto’s principle – suggests 20% of actions account for 80% of successful outcomes. And vice versa: 80% of the time most people are performing actions responsible for just 20% of favourable end results.

Effectively, the average eBay seller spends 20% of their day listing products that make money and the rest on goods that break even or incur a loss.

As an above average seller you focus on those 20% of products that almost always make money and avoid the 80% that don’t.


2) List as many products as you can as fast as you can – colloquially termed ‘throwing mud at the wall’.

Then let the 80/20 rule work its magic and expect some listings to fetch low prices and others to repay their investment many times over.

Believe me, it always works, even if you don’t do extensive product research or pre-determine likely price outcomes.

Let me explain why small collectibles make the mud-slinging process easy and very profitable…

– ‘Small’ describes many of the world’s most popular collectibles, attracting regular buyers and multiple bidders – stamps, pens and coins, for example.

A good listing title and description, coupled with a clear image and low auction starting price ensures those items rarely go unsold.

Use a starting price that makes money for you, even just pennies, and you’ll attract more early bidders and ultimately higher finishing prices.

Start your auction at 99p or less and you’ll pay the lowest listing fee for your eBay account status – private or business seller, with eBay shop or without.

– Small items, such as stamps, tickets, beads, pens, badges and coins, can be scanned in multiple lots and subsequently separated for gallery images.

Scanning items together – just one way to shorten pre-listing time – saves me about 30 seconds over scanning each item separately.

So if I list 50 items each day, that’s 25 minutes saved for more productive tasks.

– Many small collectibles can be purchased in bulk at low unit cost in most out-of-the-way general auction salerooms, attracting fewer knowledgeable dealers and collectors than happens in specialist collectibles auction houses in major towns and cities.

The lowest buying competition and the best bargains come from salerooms selling to room bidders and not taking bids online.

– Most small collectibles fit into public post boxes, involving fewer trips to the post office, and saving time and effort as well as cutting travelling expenses.

– There are lots of places to sell your small collectibles – and some even import your eBay listings direct to those other sites.

Google ‘import from eBay’ to find suitable additional sites, including Bonanza.com and Shopify.com. Quickly remove sold items from other marketplaces to avoid future sales and angry buyers.

Here are ways to make even more money selling collectibles on and outside of eBay:

– Choose items with multiple collector appeal, such as stamps reflecting other high profile collecting passions, for instance dogs, trains, space travel.

Targeting two or more different collector types multiplies bidders for each product listing, meaning fewer unsold items and more bidding wars and unexpected high finishing prices.

More ideas: holiday camp badges (some people collect badges per se, others only from Butlins and Pontins); railway tickets (for ticket collectors in general and others interested in small village stations, especially those long since closed); coins (for coin collectors in general, as well as others interested in specific country coins – which often go cheap in the UK where most coin collectors want domestic currency and can attract handsome profits listed on the relevant overseas eBay site).

– Similarly, list several different collectibles together to attract more bidders and higher finishing prices. Ideas: offer several football programmes for different teams, multiple coins from different countries, and so on.

– Focus on products within the same eBay listing category, such as all American stamps, all railway tickets, all football programmes, all pens.

You can still target different collecting sub-categories within each listing. You’ll save time normally spent changing product categories between listings – a real Godsend for people without broadband – and people interested in one listing will see all your offers and bid on several.

Stick to a maximum of  ten same subject items in close proximity to avoid flooding the market for your own products. Leave at least five minutes between auction endings to let bidders place last minute bids across several listings.

And now you have the reason I always opt to sell small collectibles on eBay and why I recommend you do the same!

All that remains now is for me to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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