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September 2010
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Selling on Ebay and a discourse on perseverance!

Every week we get at least one email asking about making money on Ebay as an artist.
There are hundreds…no thousands…. of  “get rich selling on ebay” articles out there.   The trouble with all of them (and I mean ALL) is that the success comes from selling everything it seems except artwork :-)

The following article is a good, basic article and worth reading mainly because many of the keys to success mentioned by this UK author ARE universal and worldwide.

Personally, I have sold on Ebay for years. Not my originals. In portraits I cannot compete with Chinese  labor :-) . I could give them away for free and it would not matter…. But I do sell prints. And honestly I have too many positive feedbacks to trash the site yet the store works well for me.
I have a few of Steve’ s prints on my site.  But he is an example of started out  selling his small oil paintings on Ebay which then became the catalyst for not only painting a lot of them BUT in heading in another direction into an area that has proved lucrative both financially and artistically :-)

My most successful run on Ebay I confess, was when I decided to clean out my studio a few years back and sold $3,000 worth of “unused art stuff” in 2 months. It was a lot of work but hey, so is anything you list in auctions!

So, you ask, are there artists on Ebay making any money? What artists ARE selling successfully on Ebay?   I have posted this before but over the years I have discovered that the serious artists WILL do their research and seriously see who is selling and analyze WHY they are selling so well :-) .   I can give you a list of names but th at defeats the research purpose. We all  know that browsing for one thing can lead to another and another and that lightbulb will go on in your brain…but it has to be YOUR lightbulb!  So how do you research this?

Go to and under categories click on  Art. Go to  “Direct from the Artist. Find the category that best suits what you create.
Once there, go to “Auctions ending soonest”.  Scan the many listings you will find. Anything in green has a bid. Which means it will sell. Any place other than “ending soonest” is a waste of time as there will be many thousands of pieces of art listed-we are only interested in what is selling.
Bookmark them and study everything about them. Eventually you will begin to recognize a pattern.   What you WILL discover is that the successful artists have stuck with it through hell and high water. They did not give up after a bad week or one bad run… .or several or many…..:-)

My soapbox on perseverance:
I have noticed a particular behavior among people in general (not just artists) when it comes to selling or trying to sell.  There is a temperament (behavior, attitude…)  that will try a direction(/idea/technique), once or maybe twice, briefly, and if it does not garner immediate results, quits or gives up. The odd thing about this behavior is that the giving up is done with a certain amount of relish….it’s almost as if they expected to fail or wanted to fail simply to have a reason not to be able to pursue that avenue. And are happy with it.   I am not sure if I am explaining this right but the unfortunate results of this behavior is  the negativity it promotes when those  artists/people tell everyone that “they tried” and “it” doesn’t work. So sure, they tried once, no results, and gave up….I have lost track of the number of artists who have shared such a story with me and am always puzzled by this “almost relieved” attitude or outlook on something that did not work.  In other words, there is a double message here!

One artist (whose husband, she says,  has given her a hard time about all the time/money she devotes to her art and not starting) said to me very recently,  “I have spent almost 10 years studying under the top portrait artists around the US, and then, just as I am about to launch my career, the economy tanks!“    In reality, she did not sound  sorry or regretfuly btw :-) It was more of:
“so there you go, I can’t help what life has done to disrupt my art career plans, but oh well” . But it is still an excuse :-)
I have seen it over and over……By blaming causes beyond one’s control, as it were,  then “failure”  or even lack of action can be blamed on  extenuating circumstance.  There is no testing of one’s resolve or  dedication……in other words, nothing will work if you don’t try it….AND actions speak louder than words.

The reason for this long discord on human psychology is that NO avenue of sales will work if you secretly do not want it to!
Now think long and hard about this before you jump to conclusions in a reply :-)   Success comes with perseverance, not just talent!  So if you REALLY want to be successful on Ebay or anywhere else, roll up those shirtsleeves, stop whining about the economy, your spouse, your kids, your job, your lack of space, etc…….and decide if you really have the right stuff!


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