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eBay Time Wasters

Last week I gave you an interview to help you get your eBay business more organized. This week I'm following up with a list of common ways eBay sellers waste time. This list will help you improve your efficiency.

These aren't in any order so you might need to read a few before you find one that applies to you. . .

  1. "Researching" on eBay. This is my biggest time wasting activity. I start looking something up on ebay and then a half hour later realize I'm shopping. I found the best way to stop going on these shopping tangents is by researching a few items at a time. This way I find out if one item is worth listing on eBay and what category to list in, and then move on to the next item.
  2. Chasing perfect photos. You pictures don't have to be perfect. See 23 Tips For Taking Better eBay Pictures, and How To Add Free Pictures To eBay.
  3. Doing different operations in different areas in your home. For example, Fran takes her pictures in a guest bedroom, then walks the items 65 feet to the office where she writes her listings. Then the items go into a storeroom next to the office.

    When the items sell, she carries the items 45 feet into the kitchen, gets out the packing materials and starts packing them. After packing she goes to the office and sends invoices. The storeroom has enough room to do everything, but doesn't have a window and the tables are covered with crap. Setting up a light stand and cleaning off the clutter on the table would be 10 minutes well spent. Then again she does get a lot of exercise!
  4. Over packing. One of my friends wraps each item in tissue paper, then shrink wraps it, then wraps it in paper, then puts it in a box with peanuts all around it. Each package takes him 5-15 minutes to pack. Wrapping each item in packing paper and then putting it into the box with enough peanuts to surround and protect the item would take much less time. The shrink wrap doesn't add anything, it's just a hobby.
  5. Packing inefficiently. This is one of the most common wastes of time. In eBay time waster #3 I mentioned Fran packs her sales in her kitchen after getting all the packing materials out. For an occasional ebay seller this makes sense. For a regular seller with 15-30 auctions ending every week, it doesn't make sense. Regular sellers should have a dedicated area for listing, and packing eBay items. See An ebay Selling System for an example of how to set up your workspace.
  6. Two other examples of poor packing effort are not packing an item until it's paid, and making repeated trips to the post office rather than shipping once or twice a week. Doing similar operations at the same time makes it easier to get a series of items packed.
  7. The place you ship from may also be a big time waster. There are two post office branches within 5 miles of my house. One is a probation facility where all the poor postal employees are sent for one last chance before they're fired for incompetence or rudeness. It's a mess.

    The other facility usually goes quite fast. The second facility also has a business line that moves really fast. The UPS counter is always slower than a UPS store. More eBay shipping advice.
  8. Inefficient systems are a hidden waste of time. When we first start selling on eBay we muddle through the process. Later as our volume increases, we follow the same steps we learned haphazardly when we started selling. As our sales grow, our methods must be streamlined.

One of the best ways to improve your eBay selling system is to compare yourself to others. People who do a good job and people who do a poor job.

My eBay selling system is explained in the Auction Revolution.

Get the Auction Revolution and improve your auctions


PS There are summaries of recent eBay articles and links to the free interviews here.

PPS 19 Ways To Quickly Improve Your eBay Auctions is a related article.

PPPS In my opinion The Auction Revolution is the most comprehensive guide to eBay selling availible. I've been teaching people how to sell on eBay since 1998. If reading these articles has improved your skills, think about the advances you'll make with a 235 page step-by-step guide.

Get the Auction Revolution and improve your auctions

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Many of the articles and free reports here on IWantCollectibles were originally sent to readers of my Antiques and eBay Newsletter. Not all articles make it onto the website, and readers also get notices of free reports and special offers.

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