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EBAY & M.E. / C.F.S


If you have M.E. / CFS or a related illness you don't need me to tell you about how hard life can be, how difficult the everyday, supposedly 'simple' things become.  If you are severe or very severe, you prbably won't be able to read this.  I will try to lay it out in a helpful manner.

I was diagnosed with M.E. in 2001 and have been very severe and bed bound many times.  Currently I am enjoying a period of relatively good health.  Throughout me illness I have found online shopping to be incredibly helpful, and have now set up my own ebay store ' Jeans etc I love Levi's'.  I hope you'll visit. 

Buying on ebay
There is a lot of information to deal with.  to make it as manageable as possible:

1) Be as precise as you can in your search.  This will narrow down the amount of items you will  have to look through

2) Search with the most important criteria selected.  The default is 'Best Match', but there are many other options for prioritising results.  For example lowest price + p&p

3) Just look through a page at a time of  the results of your search.  Make a note of the page number you get to and the exact title of the search and pick it up another time.  If anythinthing new has been listed in the meantime it will be marked with a rising sun synbol.  The easiest thing to do is enter the exact search title you used and use the serach criteria 'new listings' , look at the new items, and then re-search entering the criteria you previously used.

4) Be careful with p&p charges, unfortunately some sellers build in profit here. For most of us money is tight, so don't pay more than you want.  Things always come round again on ebay.

5) If you have anyone who can help you  use them.  Processing information is exhausting.  And remember that just because you are sitting down, reading, thinking, decision making all use precious energy so take this into account when you rest and pace.  When I started 10 mintes was my maximum.

6) It is well worth setting up a paypal account as this requires the least energy and saves you from having to go out and post cheques.

7) Always read the sellers feedback before you buy as disputes over money and goods take more time and energy.  A good seller will have a high star rating and good feedback, and you will have a smooth transaction. 

8) Visit my store!

Selling on ebay
Selling on ebay whether the odd item or opedning a store can be a really useful form of extra income.  But I wouldn't recommend it to somebody who is suffering severely with M.E. / C.F.S. as it does take energy, and the rewards can be very small, especially at the begining.

Some suggestions for pacing:

1) Selling on ebay requires a few tasks.  The easiest way to manage them is to break them up and do one each day, or do one and have a rest period before the next.

2) Photograph  your item(s) - a couple of shots will do.  And rest.

3) List your item - do everything except the description as this will probably take the most mental energy. You can click on 'save for later' and save what you have done as a draft to come back to anytime.  It will be kept for as long as yo like as long as you don't start a new listing of another item.

4) Write the description.  Keep it simple to save yourself work.  You don't need an essay to sell, but you need more than a sentence.  The best thing is to save yourself from thinking if you can.  Type in anything it says on the item - just copy name / make / model / number etc and comment on condition.

5) If you have several things to sell, you can save a lot of energy by making up a bundle of goods, and selling as a 'bundle of mens clothes', a 'bundle of ps2 games' etc, even an odd collection of items can be sold as a bundle if needs be.  This way you just need the energy for one listing, although it would be useful to take more photos.

6) For delivery do what is easiest for you.  If you can't get out, but can cope with someone coming to the house, you can state collection only, but obviously this will cut down your potential buyers.  If you can't get out and it's a large item you maybe able to arrange collection from a private courier such as DHL.  You do need to have thought about this so that you can state a postage cost on the listing.  If you have a friend of neighbour who will take it to the post office for you, great.

Running an ebay shop
This is a new venture for me, and has turned out to be a very good choice.  I must emphasise though that this only provides 'pocket money' at the moment, and I am not currently in a position to build a business which proveds a full income.  Nonetheless it's useful money, and is one of the few things which works around my M.E.

If you're going to have a go the following might be of interest:

1) Choose something to sell you know about and are comfortable with, immediately this gives you confidence and saves you some energy you would otherwise need to spend resraching and learning.

2) It's worth buying a book - I would definitely recommend Dan Wilson's 'Make serious money on ebay UK'.  It helps by breaking things down for you so you can just move one step at a time, and consider one thing at a time whilst knowing you're on the right track.

3) When you look into wholesaling or buying a job lot look on ebay - this is a great place to get stuff and again saves you the energy of walking around car boot sales etc

4) If you can buy a job lot of identical items this is the very best way to save energy as you only need to do one listing, you can state  on the listing how many of the items are available.  Turbo lister is useful for listing bulk identical items, and again can save energy.

5) Do as much of your research as you can on ebay - again it can be done on stages and it may well be a lower energy option.  Don't forget though that reading / information processing uses up  lot of energy, so pace yourself carefully.  A simple way to research is to look up the item you are thinking about selling on completed listings.  This way you get an idea how much it goes for.

6) See how cheaply you can bulk buy this item.  Selling on ebay is great but does incur costs - sellers fees, final value fees and paypal fees all add up.  You need to look into these.  Again a good book saves energy  and makes this easy.  (You can buy the book and others online).

7) Look at the typical / average selling price for your item, take away the fees and see what figure you are left with. Then see how cheaply you can buy this item, what profit are you left with ? 

This is the big decision : IS IT WORTH THE ENERGY? 

For me it is.  Not because my profits are great (I'm working on it!), but because it gives me a project / hobby I can focus on when I'm well.  It restores some self-esteem, value, just the feeling I have a life and am able to do something. 

The reason I find ebay so good is that I can do it at my own pace, for example, I can:

  • Buy a bundle on ebay one day - this takes energy in looking through what's available and working out the cost per item, and therfore the potential profit.
  • Photograph and list it in batches - say 5 pairs of jeans at a time.  You can save energy here by creating a template and just changing the details each time.  
  • If I can't do it it doesn't matter.  It makes no difference at all.  I tend to get a good amount of stock on when I'm well - although I still pace - so that if I have two weeks in bed there's stuff in the shop.  It looks better, but it doesn't matter.  The thing to remember is most people serach by lsitings, not shops, so if it's listed they can buy it, if it isn't they won't know.
7) If you are going to have a shop you MUST have a back up.  If I'm ill in bed, my sister will very kindly come and look what's sold, package it and post it for me.  Without that people wouldn't receive their goods in a reasonable time, and that would definitely result in bad feedback.

There's a lot to consider - it takes a lot of energy for often small financial gains - but there are other gains, and you MUST  have someone to package and post if you can't or you won't last as a seller, and it's well worth getting a book to break it down, simplify it and help you to move step by step.

If I learn anything else I think may help I'll add to this guide.  Or perhaps you will.

In the meantime, take care, be as well as you can, and ....visit my shop!



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