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Free listings bolster household budget

Jessica Jones is a stay-at-home mom who loves browsing estate sales and thrift stores for great finds she can sell on eBay. Though she just started, ca_jessica already has plans to use the cash from her new favorite hobby to fund extra help around the house.

Jessica Jones has had a long-time fascination with all things vintage. Now as ca_jessica, she sells fun and funky blasts from the past on eBay, which allows her to do more of the treasure-hunting she loves.

Going for it

Jessica started selling last winter when eBay held promotions to list Auction-style for free. "It gave me the chance to try things and learn what works without worrying about it," she says ."When it's free to list, you can jump right in if you already know what interests buyers looking for your item, or you can find something around the house you don't need anymore and use it as a learning experience."

Jessica prides herself on researching her items, but encourages sellers who are just getting started to sell things they know about. She uses books as her own example. "My oldest daughter, Olivia, loves reading. I pick up a lot of books and sell them on eBay when she's done. They're especially easy to store, list, and ship." Part of what makes it so easy is listing with the eBay catalog-available for popular products like books, Blu-rays, and electronics. It's right there when you list. Simply type a keyword like the title or author or the ISBN number and information from the publisher or manufacturer and a stock photo are automatically pulled into your listing. It almost creates the listing for you.

She also says having some feedback and familiarity with eBay helps. "Buyers look for sellers with some kind of feedback history. Build it up first and worry about profits later," she advises. "Watch those 2-minute eBay how-to videos and look at sellers who have sold their items successfully—what information did they include? How do they ship? It's easy to do a little research and test the waters."

Free time turns into fun time

"Selling is a lot of fun. Part of that is learning about the items I find," says Jessica, who frequents thrift stores and estate sales. "I love old books, maps, toys—anything with a sense of history behind it." She gets a thrill when a buyer makes an emotional connection with one of her items and shares this story, "I got a bunch of old maps at an estate sale. One was of San Leandro, CA. My buyer got his 1950's Studebaker there and bought the map for his car."

Jessica truly enjoys selling, but running a household with three children keeps her on her toes most of the day. She likes that eBay gives her the flexibility to work around her family's schedule, and uses product-sourcing excursions as opportunities for one-on-one time with youngest daughter, Penelope.

"My 1 year old loves sitting in the shopping cart and looking around while I'm hunting for things to research and sell on eBay. It's a natural extension of my hobby that gets us out of the house together. We both really enjoy the social interaction."

Once older kids Noah and Olivia are home from school, Jessica goes back into full-time mom mode. This means a lot of her selling happens at night. She truly appreciates that she can take care of business during these quiet moments, even while the Post Office is closed. "Most of my shipping work happens after my kids go to bed... I couldn't do that when I sold some maternity clothes about five years ago, so it's much easier now. I have a postal scale and print my shipping labels at home so everything's ready to go."


Aiming for more help around the house

While selling on eBay started as a fun extension of Jessica's interest in everything vintage, she sees bigger potential down the road. "Right now I'm funding my hobby, but I plan to open an eBay Store soon. My goal is to make enough money to pay for a housekeeper once a week. Once I meet that goal, I'm saving up for a vacation. Selling is all about doing more of what I enjoy."

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