Selling on eBay. Not really a passive income stream (in most cases)


Last week I wrote about how I kind of made money by accident selling a wireless phone on eBay. After that happy accident I decided to take a closer look at that marketplace to see what kind of opportunity existed to make money selling on eBay.

First thing I have to say is that in most cases selling on eBay will not qualify as passive income, at least not by my definition of passive income.

To sell on eBay you first need to get your product from somewhere, then you need to produce some good photos and description to go on your listing, answer question bidders might have and finally ship the product to the winning bidder. All this usually in a time lapse of 7 days (which is the length of the standard auction). This leaves very little room for flexibility… sure you can chose if you want to answer questions in the morning or in the evening, but if you wanted to leave town for a couple of weeks, who would ship the products? And if you were to be without an internet connection for those two weeks, who would answer questions and start new auctions?

Of course all these cons have easy solutions. Listings will be quite similar assuming you sell the same kind of product multiple times. Listings can be programmed to start on future dates so you could potentially schedule a full month of listings and forget about that. To answer customer questions you could hire a virtual assistant and to ship your items you could use a fulfilment center.

So technically eBay could become a passive stream of income if you implemented all the solutions mentioned above, but that probably won’t happen from day one and that sort of infrastructure is closer to a well managed small company than any sort of automated, recurrent revenue stream.


There is definitely an opportunity to make money selling on eBay and there is no reason why your or I should not pursue that opportunity if you think you can get your hands on some product that will sell well. But keep in mind it will be tough to turn your eBay store into a sustainable source of passive income.

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