Scavenger Life Episode 189: Getting Paid To Have Fun (Scavenger Style) iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

We've been consistently selling on eBay since 2008, and we couldn't have done this if we weren't having fun. Not fun as in “I'm super lazy and don't do anything”, but fun as in “I like to be busy and challenged and this feels like a fun flow.”

Running an eBay business is about juggling fifty different details at the same time. We love to get into the "eBay" flow. One task leads to another to another where it almost becomes meditation. This is different from many jobs we've had where it feels like drudgery. Every moment is more painful than the next...and there’s only tomorrow of the same pain to look forward to. When people complain about listing, we can think a million worst things we could be doing to make a living.

If you had told me in 2008 that we would make a living and gain freedom by selling one $30 item at a time, I would have never started. Too over whelming. Instead we simply have one fun day of scavenging and selling followed by the next. If eBay feels like drudgery to you, change it up. Sell items that you find interesting, get your partner involved, don't take on more than you can handle.

In this podcast, we talk about the following links:
And some stuff to listen to (besides us) as you work...
  • Fun new podcast from Scott Carrier called Home of the Brave. He's my favorite storyteller on This American Life.
  • Filmmaker Mark Duplass gives the keynote at SXSW. He explains how he makes great media scavenger style. Reminds us that selling on eBay would be a great job for a hungry filmmaker.
  • Watch the web series, High Maintenance. Also made by creative people who use the scavenger mentality.

Plus this week's Flashback has us talking about why we love to scavenge at Flea Markets. Check it out and get excited about the coming season.

And if you want to come visit us, rent our Farm House in the Shenandoah Valley for your next vacation. We'll even meet with you for dinner if you want, and we can talk about scavenging.

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers
Our Store Week March 22-28, 2015

  • Total Items in Store: 3828
  • Items Sold: 34
  • Cost of Items Sold: $290
  • Total Sales: $1,516.72
  • Highest Price Sold: $249 (Outsider Art)
  • Average Price Sold: $44.58
  • International Sales: 4 (1 GSP)
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $70
  • Number of items listed this week: 123

    Scavenger Life Episode 188: Why there's no "get rich quick" eBay or Amazon system iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

    There's an embarrassing amount "get rich quick" schemes that you can buy online that will supposedly teach you how to run an eBay or Amazon store. After reading some of them, we can strongly confirm that none of them teach you any secrets that you can't easily find online for free or figure out yourself. I guess if you're new to eBay, there's no harm in buying a $3 Kindle eBook on how to run an eBay store. Usually you can read these in about an hour, and they give an overview of how to sell an item and some suggestions of items to look for. But it's insane to pay a monthly/yearly fee to join a subscription club where someone just feeds you pretty basic info. I've seen gurus ask for $30-$50 a month, or one time payments of $500.

    Of course, anyone is allowed to make a living by selling courses, and anyone is allowed to pay for it. This is the free market. People also pay money to televangelists. Just seems silly. From our experience, there's no substitute for putting in the hours. eBay and Amazon is learning by doing. As you start selling items, then you'll have specific questions that other sellers will answer for free. So it goes. Don't be a rube.

    This week we mention the following items:
    --NY Times article about Etsy struggling to remain it's "handmade" credibility as it goes public.
    --Check out your Seller Performance to see if you're a Top Rated Seller
    --The Spring Seller Update has some small changes that mainly affect people running auctions
    --Ryanne talks about this cool blog that shows the kinds of vintage computers people love to collect. So there is a market for the junky computers often shoved in the corner at thrift stores and yard sales.
    --Mark S. from Southeast Michigan is starting a Scavenger meetup, email him here if you want to meet IRL (in real life)

    And we wanted to start doing a new feature where we point you to an old episode that might be interesting for newcomers who haven't heard our archives. This week check out this episode where we discuss how we turned our hobby eBay business into a full-time business. Should answer recent questions about how we structured ourselves legally (no LLC).

    The Weekly Scavenger Numbers
    Our Store Week March 15-21, 2015

    • Total Items in Store: 3768
    • Items Sold: 52
    • Cost of Items Sold: $315
    • Total Sales: $2,597.43
    • Highest Price Sold: $550.00 (Amplifier)
    • Average Price Sold: $49.94
    • International Sales: 3 (2 GSP)
    • Returns: 1
    • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $100
    • Number of items listed this week: 91

    End of Week Treat: Jay and The Reseller Roundtable Dudes Talk About Selling Online iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp4  Download .ogv

    A couple nights ago, Jay took the electrical tape off his webcam (c'mon we're podcasters over here) and joined the dudes at Resellers Roundtable to chat for almost 2 hours about selling online. Can you handle it?

    Scavenger Life Episode 187: How to build an eBay pipeline to pay your bills iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

    After six years of selling on eBay, we've figured out how to make a living selling stuff we scavenge. For lack of a better word, we call it "building our eBay pipeline". Because we've created a lifestyle where we're always either scavenging or listing, the pipeline is always flowing. When we go to the grocery store, we stop by a thrift store or pick up an old lamp on the side of the street. When we're at home, we always setting time aside to list the stuff we found. Busy little trash elves. We put items into the eBay pipeline and money comes out the other side. The more you fill it, the more consistently money comes out.

    Had a good solid week of sales, though we sold many items under $30. We experimented by buying some commercial kitchen equipment at fire sale rates. Unfortunately it turned out to be a bust. All lessons are expensive.

    We also talk about getting our first paying guests stay at our rental farmhouse. After three years of spending money on renovations, we're psyched to hopefully turn on our "rental pipeline". More pipelines, more freedom.

    Like other sellers, we got a small wave of returns. It happens. A caller asked about Global Shipping Program which now ships to 64 counties. We also talk about a bad experience we had buying an item on eBay which helps us see the other side.

    The Weekly Scavenger Numbers
    Our Store Week March 8-14, 2015

    • Total Items in Store: 3804
    • Items Sold: 49
    • Cost of Items Sold: $170
    • Total Sales: $1411.60
    • Highest Price Sold: $79.99 (old forks)
    • Average Price Sold: $28.57
    • International Sales: 3 (3 GSP)
    • Returns: 3
    • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $370
    • Number of items listed this week: 91

    Scavenger Life Episode 186: How do I make money on eBay without fighting with customers? iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

    This week, Jay admits to sleeping till 10am every day while Ryanne does all the work. Having a partner is really nice because you can each pick up the other person's slack. Ryanne has earned a lazy week if she ever wants one. Good news is our sales were better than last week.

    A seller asked us a good question: how do you sell on eBay without constantly fighting with customers. Obviously this is a loaded question. It's all about your attitude. If you assume everyone is out to get you, selling on eBay (and life in general) will be painful. We've learned that sometimes it's best to just be a robot. Buyer messages about being unhappy; we immediately message back "return for a full refund". Case closed. No drama.

    We have also been continuing to sell the artwork that we took on consignment. We preach against selling for other people, but broke our own rule because we love selling original art. It's all a learning experience and money will be made. But honestly, we just like to sell for ourselves.

    These are the topics we mentioned in the podcast:
    --Quimper Pottery we found in the back of a junky thrift store. Score!
    --A seller talked about finding a 50-cent mug and selling it for $250.
    --I spoke about how my friend and I now call ourselves "Trash elves". Buy a mug and join the club.
    --Here's a video showing what one sanitation worker has collected from the trash in NYC over the past 30 years.
    --Etsy is about to go public. Who really cares but I guess it means selling stuff online is taken seriously by investors.
    --Great history of the Beanie Baby craze. This journalist explains how a small group of soccer moms in suburban Chicago made a small time toy seller into a very rich man.
    --If you sell military clothes found at thrift stores, read this article on how the M-65 jacket became an iconic piece of clothing in the fashion world. 

    The Weekly Scavenger Numbers
    Our Store Week March 1-7, 2015

    • Total Items in Store: 3778
    • Items Sold: 55
    • Cost of Items Sold: $520
    • Total Sales: $$2,334.37
    • Highest Price Sold: $175.00 (Jacket)
    • Average Price Sold: $42.43
    • International Sales: 8 (6 GSP)
    • Returns: 0
    • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $96
    • Number of items listed this week: 79