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Plowing Through Obstacles: How Tim T. Does Life and eBay

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Last Edited 09:41:07 AM

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Tim T.  of TimsTreasureChest may have been left disabled by a tragic car accident in his teens, but he has the enviable ability to see obstacles as nothing more than opportunities in disguise.


Instead of watching the snow pile up from the window of his West Springfield, Pennsylvania, home, he designed (and his family built) a 4x4 wheelchair snowplow that landed him a spread in The Huffington Post.


When he couldn’t get into his local handicap-inaccessible Goodwill (to source for eBay inventory), he phoned a nearby lumberyard and had plywood cut for a temporary ramp. Then he pinged Goodwill management through Facebook until they furnished a better solution.


Despite his mobility issues (or maybe because of them), Tim’s a problem-solving machine. And though he’s fairly new to selling on eBay, he’s off to a stellar start.


Tim, you’ve been selling on eBay for less than two years, but you’ve already made quite a name for yourself in the eBay community. How?

I guess it’s because I’m really active in my Facebook groups: Kathy Terrill’s eBay Stores, Nothing But eBay Stores, and Jason T. Smith’s The Thrifting Board. Kathy has helped me in an above-and-beyond kind of way, and Jason pretty much took me under his wing. He’s the reason I started selling on eBay. I saw an episode of Thrift Hunters on Spike and thought “I can do that.” Then I watched a bunch of Griff’s YouTube videos and I was off to the races!


I love to see eBay sellers supporting each other. Is there anything about selling on eBay that you haven’t been able to master?

Not really. I mean I use my elbow to type on my laptop and my voice to edit photos. And, if I can’t do it, my helpers can. They assist with everything from sourcing to staging items. I think of myself as the brains behind the operation, but they don’t call me the “MacGyver of shipping” for nothing. 


Sounds like there’s a story there?

Yeah, there’s nothing I can’t pack. A lawn chair? No problem.


Well, you’re clearly a good leader, because your product pics are really beautiful. That’s how you ended up on our radar. What do you use?



We use an iPhone and the Photoshop Express app. My helpers take the shots and I edit them. Other than that, we use a white sheet as a backdrop. Eventually, we’ll upgrade to a light box and more professional photography equipment, but this has worked well so far.


You clearly have an eye for it. Product photography can make or break a sale. It’s one of the first trust signals buyers look for.

I believe it. That’s how I shop. If the item picture’s not good, I’ll pass it right by. I put myself in my buyers’ shoes.


That’s an excellent practice. What are some of the other secrets to your success, so far?

Well, I stick close to eBay best practices:


  1. Include the right keywords. I know this seems basic, but I do a lot of keyword tweaking in bed at night. It really helps buyers find my stuff.
  1. Use Markdown Manager. I always have several items marked down by 10%. Buyers love a discount, and every little bit helps.
  1. Be good to your customers. I treat my customers very well, and it shows in my feedback. This is also one of my favorite parts of the job.
  1. Find your people. I’ve learned so much from interacting with other sellers in my Facebook groups. I don’t know where I’d be without them.
  1. Keep motivated with goals. I achieved my first goal, Top-Rated Seller status, not too long ago. Now I’m working toward a new van.

Tim, your positivity is contagious. I know you’ve only been doing this for a couple of years, but you’re going to inspire thousands. Thank you.


Are you a new seller on eBay? Tell us in the comments below, and feel free to share this article with your eBay peers via email and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.



Thanks Tim T.  of TimsTreasureChest this was a great article for a new ebayer- I didn't know there was a markdown manager! Still learning :-) and I just wanted to let you know I appreciated the tips in the article. God Bless!


I believe there are many people sourcing inventory for sales at ebay from Goodwill stores. Kudos to all of you who do and can make a significant income from recycling thousands of products discarded by others. Not only is it good for the envirnment but it is good for our economy as well. I think it should be encouraged and welcomed at Goodwill with special consideration for those who choose to essentially assist there efforts to recycle there products. Perhaps they could give discounts to known participants, provide free in store WiFi, perhaps even computer and ebay customer access to those in need ...perhaps E-bay can assist Goodwill in some way to facilitate these extraordinary people like time ...hey like if you agree

by sea_starr · Adventurer

Looks like you've got it nailed! Great job - and most of all it seems to me that you really enjoy it!

by jfkiss2 · Adventurer

Tim, thank you for being transparent. I am a reseller who has limited mobility and it really can be challenging at times; however, I refuse to let my condition keep me from suceeding. Kudos to you! Thanks again!

Tim your story inspired me to work harder and make my listings better!  Your "never say never" attitude is refreshing.  I cannot wait to check out your listings!  Keep up the good work.


by lindyslucky · Guide

Good for Tim!! 

Life is hard for everyone.

But, it's so good to remind ourselves we aren't alone.

And some of us have more to overcome than others.

Keep on Going Tim!!

You give me faith to keep trying.

Thank you so much for sharing your life path.

Rising Star

Awesome Tim, love your story and love the shout outs to the FB forums and the people who have helped you along the way. Sellers should see that we are all a community together and that together we can do so much!!!

by timat618 · Adventurer

Thank you eBay for highlighting my story! It is a great motivator for me! I hope I can  inspire others to do something they enjoy. 

News Team
News Team

These comments are giving me the chills and I'm tearing up a bit. Thank you, Tim, for sharing your story and inspiring me and LOTS of other sellers. (big hug!)



Tim you will always be an inspiration to everyone whose path you cross. You are proof that the only obstacle exists in your brain. With your sheer determination and drive you have come so far in so little time. I can't wait to see what the future brings you! Keep being you! 


Tim is an amazing inspiration to so many sellers. After hearing his story about building a ramp to get into a store I have a new motto. WWTD. What Would Tim Do? He's always upbeat and funny. So thankful to know him and see what he comes up with next. 

by plazamarketdistrict · Adventurer | Updated

Inspiring. Inspired.

Inspired to make my own seller story. This month I make 1year selling on eBay! Ived enjoy every second! Ived enjoy every up and every down! Thanks Timmy!! See you in Vegas 7/17!!


Hey Tim,

Your going to go far. I was involved in a mining accident a number of years back that limited what I could do. No one would hire me because I was a liability and I understand that. So I created with the help of family and friends a company that I was a major stock holder in to get me "Back into the game". Where most saw obstacles...I saw challenges just like yourself to overcome.


Was it easy? No....but it was fulfilling to know I was useful and productive part of the community again. When I started eBay, buyers and sellers could not see me as disabled. I was seen as someone that had something for sale that a buyer wanted or a great buyer that paid quickly and always gave great feedback in return. We are now up to a anchor store and closing in on 3 million in overall sales since we began selling on eBay.


If I can do it...anyone can. I developed a plan that can be used to sell anything on eBay in any category. Basically a step by step of what was successful from years of selling. Yes it does seem to change every time eBay has a spring and fall update Smiley Very Happy. To Tim and others that have disabilities....never give up on your dreams! We just have to work smarter, not harder lol. I can already visualize you Tim in that great looking Van. Are we doing the 60's shag interior?