Oct 16, 2017 Finance

"I Make $10,000 a Year Selling Old Clothes on eBay"—This Is the Key

by Sophie Miura
PHOTO:

Chris Patey for MyDomaine

While negotiating salary is one means of boosting your income, entrepreneur Kat Tretina found an effective way to earn money that's completely in your control: Starting a side hustle. The college graduate says she earns up to $10,000 a year reselling old clothes on eBay and admits it's a surprisingly easy business model to replicate.

"At first, I started very small," she tells Money, flipping $4 jeans for up to $40. "I bought just a few items at a time to sell and had very little in terms of supplies. I mostly relied on free priority shipping envelopes from the post office and printed shipping labels at the library." But after a few months, she realized her hobby could be a sizeable income stream. "Once I had made several hundred dollars from this, I started taking it more seriously and reinvested in my business."

Here's how this eBay super user turned her hobby into a $10,000 side hustle:

1. Rethink shipping methods: When Tretina switched to using vinyl envelopes, she was able to ship used clothing for much less, meaning the bulk of the listing price went straight into her pocket.

2. Choose a niche: If you're looking to start your own eBay store, she recommends choosing a niche category you know well. "I've helped new sellers get started on eBay, and one of the most common problems that come up is when a seller is tempted to sell things outside their niche," she says. "Buying inventory without knowing if it will turn a profit can be a costly mistake."

3. Learn from your competitors: Tretina noticed that other sellers used Photoshop to remove the image background. "I mimicked that approach with a site that does the work for you, and I saw an increase in my selling prices," she says.

Have you tried to make money on eBay?