Back in 2012 (wow, that long ago?) I posted How to Sell on Instagram and over the last year and a half a lot of people have been leaving comments with additional questions. I thought I’d revisit and just answer some of the most popular questions. I don’t sell on instagram much anymore, but I have years of knowledge about selling online on instagram, etsy, ebay, etc. so I wanted to offer some additional advice for things I didn’t cover in the original post.
When I send an invoice through Paypal, will it tell me the buyers address? Yes, just make sure when you send the invoice you mark it for “Goods” (not “Services). That way you can see their address and (if you’d like) pay for and print your shipping label directly from Paypal.
Do you drop your packages off at the post office? It honestly depends. You can schedule a pick up with USPS if you’d like your packages picked up from your house. The only catch is you must have at least one Priority or Express mail item to qualify for pick up. Otherwise, you need to go drop it off.
How do you get followers when you start selling? This is one of the toughest parts about selling on instagram. In fact, I even faced this a few months ago when I tried to sell on instagram after about a year off. It’s hard. The best way to get followers are: -Use hash tags like #forsale #shopmycloset etc. so people can find your items -Follow other instagramers -Interact with other people on instagram -Buy some stuff (I know you’re trying to make money, but sometimes buying stuff and making some connections is the best way to get people to trust you)
Should I charge a flat rate shipping fee or calculate shipping per item? It’s honestly up to you. Because I’ve been shipping items I’ve sold online for so long, I usually go the flat rate route. I can generally guesstimate how much it’ll be to most places and I just ballpark it if I don’t mind losing a buck or two on shipping if it’s a little more. If you’re just starting out, I highly recommend calculating shipping. Just mention in your listings something like “Leave zip code below and I can give you a shipping estimate”. You can calculate shipping with USPS here.
Do you need special paper to print out labels from Paypal? No, you can just print directly on regular paper and tape them to the package. If you’re doing more than a few packages, you might want to invest in some half sheet labels to make things easier on you.
Do I have to pay taxes? This is a confusion subject that I can’t really give you an answer for. Different areas have different laws. I think most people are just selling a couple things on instagram that they don’t need (kind of like a yard sale) and don’t have to worry about taxes, but if you’re doing more than that or trying to start a business I’d definitely talk to a professional first to see what your tax responsibilities are.
Once an item is sold should I take it off my instagram? Not yet. Here’s what I usually do: Once an item is sold, I will comment saying it’s sold. I will also take a screen shot of the listing along with the comment of the person who bought it, just to be safe. Once that person gets the item in the mail and all is good, then I delete it, but keep the screen shots in case they try to dispute through paypal on condition. That way I can send paypal that screen shot showing that the buyer knew the condition, etc. I’ve never run into this, but it’s always good to play it safe.
What about feedback? Honestly, when I was selling on instagram I didn’t worry too much about thing. BUT I think if I started selling on there a lot, I would create a feedback system. The best thing I can think of is to post a photo that says “Feedback” on it where you can ask people who have bought for you to comment with feedback. This should help people feel more confident buying from you.
Do I need to sign up for a Paypal Business account or can I just use a personal account? I personally have a business account, but that’s because I do use paypal for other business transactions. If you’re just selling on instagram to get rid of a few things, you’ll be ok with a personal account. You can read about the differences in paypal accounts here.
Want a step-by-step guide walking you through setting up your account, taking and editing photos, how to price, how to figure out shipping and more? Click the image below to learn more about my How to Sell on Instagram eCourse