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When I was younger, I was OBSESSED with musical theatre. I still am, but definitely not to the extent that I was. I spent years meeting actors at stage doors and getting their autographs on my Playbills. It’s actually embarrassing how many I ended up collecting over the years.
But it ended up paying off in an unexpected side hustle.
While cleaning out my storage unit, I found literally HUNDREDS of Playbills, all signed by famous Broadway actors. Years had gone by, so I had no real sentimental attachment to them anymore.
I was curious about how much money these Playbills would go for online, so I set up an eBay account and listed a few of the rarer ones. I probably posted about five before I got my first sale, and I ended up selling multiple things before I was even done posting everything.
Before I was even done setting up my listings, I made $200. Crazy, right?
What was my secret?
Honestly, it came down to 3 things.
- Price. I honestly had no idea how much these things were worth. I certainly didn’t lowball, but I also didn’t charge hundreds of dollars as other accounts did.
- The title of the listing. I used keywords in the listing- “signed”, “Broadway”, “Playbill”, and a few of the celebrities’ names if they were ones with a big following.
- Photos. Take as many clear photos as you can of your item, at every angle possible.
In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing.
Figuring Out How to Sell
What I found was that by pricing my Playbills at slightly lower than my competitors was the best way to go (to see what your competitors are charging simply use the eBay search and see what the same or similar listings are currently going for and what they include).
I typically priced my signed Playbills between $50 and $100, which seemed to be the sweet spot. I also made sure to use similar keywords.
Really make it clear in your description why someone should buy your item over others.
Include important specs and details to make your listing appealing like:
- quick shipping
- any added items that are included
- anything that makes your listing stand out from the others
Later on, I noticed that a lot of Playbill sellers and traders were doing their business via Instagram, which led me to make an Instagram for my own Playbill business in conjunction with my eBay account.
What Made Me Stand Out
The majority of people in the business were teenage girls. A lot of them focused on the current musicals, as those were the ones they had access to. That’s what made me stand out- I had Playbills dating over a decade ago, from shows that these kids had only seen via bootleg. So my age definitely gave me a leg up.
I did research on what shows were popular and took notes on:
- which actors were the most popular at the time
- which shows had cult followings
I would then feature my Playbills from older shows that those actors had done and peddled shows with cult followings especially hard.
Now I had two sources of income with my Playbills- eBay and Instagram.
In that first month of me doing it, I made over $1,000.
Something to remember about selling online, eBay or not, that the more time you put into it, the more profit you’ll make.
Spend time exploring your options:
- What pieces in your collection is worth the most?
- How important is quality?
- What is the most sought after?
Flipping Items Online
If you don’t already have a collection, start flipping. Find things in bulk for cheap on eBay, then resell them. There are people all over Facebook Marketplace that sell things in bulk, and those things are prime flipping material.
Sign up to get your FREE list of items to flip and resell!
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Other Sites and Apps to Use
There are many more platforms you can utilize besides eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Instagram.
Other popular sites and apps to try:
- Craiglist: This is a great place to start for getting things for cheap to sell on other platforms for a profit.
- Poshmark: Mainly for clothing, shoes, purses, accessories and more. (Designer brands do the best on this app).
- Mercari: Similar to Poshmark but you can literally sell anything on it (toys and electronics to the best).
- Offerup: For buying and selling locally (any category of items).
- Letgo: Also known as the favorable alternative to Offerup, Letgo also allows you to buy and sell anything locally (any category of items).
- SidelineSwap: Buy and sell athletic gear, clothing and more.
- Reverb: For musical instruments and accessories.
- Decluttr: Sell electronics like cell phones, ipads, video games and more directly to Decluttr.
- StillWhite: For selling wedding dresses.
- Amazon: Become an Amazon seller and flip items you can buy for cheap that the Amazon seller scanning app identifies as an easy sell. (Check out this post for more info on how that works)
When you start to explore selling online, it is wise to start with 1 or 2 platforms so you don’t lose focus. However, as you get more familiar with what you’re doing, it wouldn’t hurt to list even the same items on different platforms to get them in front of more eyes.
Wrapping Things Up: You Can Make an eBay Business Out of Anything
You can literally make an eBay business out of anything. Seriously. I made mine out of Broadway show merchandise. Others have made money getting things for free on Craigslist and flipping them to sell on eBay.
There are so many different opportunities when it comes to selling online. You just need to know where your customers are and what they’re searching for.
The opportunity is there, you just have to start.
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Rae Meghan Shapiro is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media coach. She currently writes for GeorgeTakei.com, and blogs about mental health and social media strategy.