Student hustle - how to make money selling your stuff online

Follow our easy 4-step-guide to selling stuff online to generate some extra cash.

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Student life can be tight financially. With a bit of effort and creativity, it’s possible to make some extra cash selling your unwanted bits and pieces. Follow our easy 4-step-guide to selling stuff online to make some extra cash and take the pressure off. 

1. Find things to sell

Maybe you’ve got some old textbooks, or way too many clothes. Chances are there’s some cash sitting in your room disguised as things you don’t need anymore. If you don’t know where to start, try taking on some Japanese wisdom to inspire you. 

Japanese organising consultant Marie Kondo suggests to tackle a clean out by categories, rather than by rooms. She advises her followers to start with clothing as it’s the least emotional item in the house to say good-bye to. What’s also handy with this advice is that clothing can be relatively easy to sell in an online marketplace such as Depop. 

Finding trouble saying good bye to your stuff? Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, prompts the reader to question whether or not their possessions “spark joy”. If the answer is, “no”, Kondo says that’s when it’s time to get rid of it.

Or perhaps you’re a creative soul – platforms like Etsy provide an accessible marketplace for selling items you’ve made. Maybe you make hand-painted ornaments, or you create custom one off t-shirts, or perhaps you’re a digital design guru – things like downloadable designs for weekly planners can also be sold. Don’t be shy, if you like designing and making things, there’s money to be made. 

2. Research what similar items are selling for online

Check out selling platforms such as eBay, Depop or Facebook Marketplace to see what’s selling and for how much. If using eBay you’ll need decide whether you want to auction your items or sell for a fixed price. Clothing sales platform Depop allows you to list for free, you just pay a 10% fee when you sell the item. 

While researching, it’s important you look at how much postage will cost you as the sending and what you will charge the buyer. Check out Australia Post’s website for more information about postage. Once you’ve done this you can decide on a selling price and postage costs to advertise with. 

3. Clean and take great photos

To help ensure buyer satisfaction, and out of general courtesy, it’s important to ensure your second hand items are thoroughly cleaned before sale. By pointing out faults such as scratches on items will ensure the buyer knows exactly what they’re getting in the mail. It will also help your rating as a seller on sites such as eBay. 

Once your items are clean take lots of photos, from every angle and include a photo of any fault the item may have. Use a well lit room to ensure the item’s colour and texture is as close to real life as possible. For more tips on taking photos visit eBay’s Seller Centre or if you’re really keen there’s plenty of videos on YouTube. 

If you’re listing your own creations, photos are just as important to showcase your talents. Take time to get your products looking at their best.

4. List your things online

You’re now ready to list your stuff online. Keep track of your items, keep them clean and have them ready to post, deliver or available for pick up once the item has sold. 

You will have to decide how you will accept payments from buyers. PayPal is a worldwide payment system which serves as an electronic alternative to traditional payment methods such as cheques or money orders. PayPal is easy to use and even has a handy app. You can transfer money out of your PayPal account to your own savings account, or you can keep it in there for when you make an online purchase yourself. 

Have you got any tips for selling stuff online? Share your ideas through our 'was this helpful' survey below!


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