Sunday, January 31, 2016

Slow and Steady Wins The Race ... Right?

This is the last day of January and yes I have been absent from this blog because I have been working very diligently getting things done. I would love to report that we are now over 800 listings but that would not be the truth. What is true is that we have reached 600 and while that it may not be a huge change we have found our method for getting listings done.

I know everyone does things differently and we had to find a way that worked well for us. We started off thinking we were going to do things one way and it just didn't work so through trial and error we have found a method that works for us. We have been listing 60 items a week the last two weeks and I think that is going to be our number. We are able to do 60 items a week but no more otherwise we don't have time to do everything else we need to do.

January has not been a great month for us but from reading other blogs I know that we are not alone so I do take some solace in that. Here are our numbers for the month....

Items in Store - 603
eBay Sales - $637.00
Amazon Sales - $275.00 (camera)
Etsy Sales - $0
Bonanza Sales - $30.00 (shoes)
Contract Work - $1000.00
Total All - $1942.00

 Ok we did not quite make our bills this month so we had to use some of our savings to help get through the month. We have had an issue with our thrift stores not having any merchandise worth getting the last few months so it's been very difficult to get new merchandise that would sell for enough money to be worth our while.

 I love reading on other blogs how some people are making thousands of dollars from just a few listings. That is not the case with us. Our business seems to make about $100 for every 100 items we have and maybe that's because we continue to sell mostly not high end clothing, I don't know.

We have decided though that we have enough clothing for the time being so now we are going to start concentrating on general merchandise and following along with that we went to two flea markets yesterday and we purchased approximately 50 items for around $150. Now we have only always bought clothing so this is a new experience for us. We bought three paintings one of which was a Haiti artist named Rony. We think we may be able to get about $200 for that painting but as I say this is outside our comfort zone so we just don't know right now.

 We bought several board games and some still in the package blank cassette tapes, some vintage wallpaper still in the original packaging, curtains, sheets, and a bunch of other stuff that we know nothing about, lol. It should be interesting over the next several weeks to see if any of this stuff actually sells or if we will be forced to go back to our comfort zone.

Anyway just wanted to let you guys know what we have been up to and that we are still muddling our way through this. 

Peace !

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Chronicles of a full time eBay selling family: Spreading Our Wings

These Are The Adventures of 
The Mississippi Pickers

This feels like Star Trek and we're on our own five-year mission to explore strange new thrift stores and new estate sales,to boldly go where no scavenger has gone before, lol.  

OK so our first week back on the job we managed to list 40 items. We still have a small backlog of unlisted items but the pile is pretty small now. We have spent the last week getting set up in our new Photography Studio / office / storage locker.  We bought a new climate controlled storage 10' x 15' locker to do our photography in. So while I'm taking pictures my wife is preparing the next item by ironing or cleaning or whatever needs to be done to make that item ready to be photographed.

We have setup a new method of listing which will net us 60 listings a week and only requires 4 days. So we go take the photos together and like I say while I am taking pictures of one item, my wife is preparing the next so it's ready to go. We are able to photo 30 items a day doing this. So we photo on one day and we both list the next. I do 15 items and my wife does 15 items. We put in 6 hours each day. We do this for 4 days Mon - Thurs and that gets 60 items listed, very easy, then on Friday we go sourcing and we take the weekends off.

I bought two new professional grade mannequins to give us a more professional look to our photographs. We also purchased 30 new storage bins for the new merchandise that we're going to be buying over the next few months. We use large heavy duty cardboard boxes as storage bins. 30 of these heavy duty cardboard boxes cost us $110.00 on eBay which may sound expensive for cardboard boxes but these will last us forever. I have been using these type of cardboard boxes for the last 2 years with no problems. The size is 24 x 14 x 14 and they hold quite a bit of merchandise.

The next step for us is to start sourcing much further from home than we have in the past so look for us we may be coming to a town near you :-)  we do not have any kids and we basically have nothing else to do and we love to travel so we are going to be traveling all over to find new honey holes. These pickers are about to spread their wings and leave the nest. So right now we're looking at Florida as a first stop. It's not terribly far from us and the climate is right for the time of year. If anyone has any Florida suggestions please let us know. As a matter of fact if you know of any great places that a picker should visit we would love it if you would leave a comment below.

This should bring to a close the journey that got us to this point. I hope you have enjoyed sharing our experiences. We will continue to bring you updates and share whatever new information we find along the way. Hopefully much more useful information than just me talking about going full time on eBay, lol. It still seems like a dream but I keep pinching myself and saying yep I'm awake, haha.

As a relatively young couple in our early 50's we feel so lucky to be living this life at this stage of our lives. We have so many family members in our age group that are still working in crappy jobs trying to make ends meet. They all think we are insane for taking this path but time may change that. At any rate we don't really care what others think of us, we are the ones getting to enjoy our freedom.

If your thinking of doing this, first of all I am happy for you, it's a great life ! I would only say this, before you take the leap make sure you have enough money to do it. If we had not had our 401k nest egg then we would have had a much harder time but even if you do not have a 401k to cash in or any savings you can still do it. Start slow, start buying inventory while keeping your full time job and learn about what your selling before jumping into this and before you know it your ebay income will be matching your jobs income and that's when it's time to to go full time on ebay.

It took us 2 full years from knowing nothing about the business to going full time. You may reach that goal much faster, I hope so. I won't say it's easy because that would be a lie, it's not easy but it is fun and who doesn't want a fun job? Love your wife and like your job, it's a great combo. 

Thanks !
Tony and Deidre
The Mississippi Pickers

Monday, January 4, 2016

Chronicles of a full time eBay selling family: 2016 our new beginning

I know I have been silent for a few weeks and you're probably wondering what the heck happened? Well to be quite honest we took the month of December off. I was getting a little burned out from doing all this on my own so I needed to just back off a little bit. Now that my wife is with me we decided that we would start the new year in a completely different direction then what we have been doing in the past.

Our main source of inventory has been clothing but from our experience we have discovered that clothing while it does sell, it does not always sell fast. We need items that are going to sell quickly for more than $20 a piece. While we do love clothing it does seem to sell for quite a bit less most of the time.

The problem is if we devote our time to clothing then we're devoting our time to items under $10 apiece for the majority & we need quite a bit more than that to make a living doing this. Till now we have had the luxury of just making small amounts of money and that was fine but from now on we have to think much larger.

So I went back and looked at all the items that we have sold over the last year to see what had sold consistently for the most money and it was not hard to figure out that the shoes and boots category was the clear winner. We've also had quite a bit of success with purses, leather purses to be exact. we have done well with fleeces and jackets. We lost in shirts and blouses and jeans. You might say we lost our shirts in shirts :-)

I would like to say we spent the last month doing research but that would be a lie. We spent the last month enjoying our freedom. Probably not the most profitable way to spend our time but it was very enjoyable but now it's time to get back to work. Over the last few years we have gained a good amount of knowledge but I will be the first to admit that we don't know nearly enough . Last year we averaged about $1,000 a month with less than 500 items in our store and this was consistent throughout the year. This year we need at a minimum $3,000 a month to pay our bills.

I joke with my wife that we have discovered 500 things that won't sell but I guess you could say that was the cost of our education. One thing that has surprised me is board games, I never ever tried to sell board games before and we have done amazing with them especially the ones that you can find that have never been opened, those sell very well for 20+ dollars a piece.

 Anyway that's it for now just want to let you guys know that we are back and about to get back into it. We've enjoyed the vacation but now it's time to go back to work.

Thanks for reading,