Scavenger Life Episode 259: Who would wait 30 days for an item on eBay? 110 people.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

We love our routine. Wake up. Make coffee. Start on our eBay tasks. Take breaks throughout the day for lunch/snacks. No one telling us what to do, but always making sure things are get done. It often doesn't feel like work. Just puzzles that have to be solved that somehow magically make us money week in and week out. We bet on ourselves and it's paying off.

While we were away for almost a month, we sold 110 items. All but one buyer was willing to wait for their item. All we did was change handling time and sent reminders when someone bought an item. So yes, people love same day shipping, but people will wait if you set the correct expectation.

This week we mentioned the following links:
Our sales were slow and steady this week. Sometimes that's all we can ask for.

Our Store Week May 15-21, 2016
  • Store #1
  • Total Items in Store: 3635
  • Items Sold: 13
  • Cost of Items Sold: $25
  • Total Sales: $816.84
  • Highest Price Sold: $200 (coral bead)
  • Average Price Sold: $62.83
  • Returns: 1
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $100
  • Number of items listed this week: 0

  • ----------
  • Amazon FBA Store
  • Number of items sold: 14
  • Amazon total sales: $320.87
  • Amazon FBA Fees: $127.68
  • COGS (shipment to FBA included): $30
  • Net profit after COGS: $174.15

  • Bonanza:
  • Sold 2 items for $150
  • ----------

  • Store #2
  • Total Items in Store: 871
  • Items Sold: 7
  • Cost of Items Sold: $10
  • Total Sales: $180.43
  • Highest Price Sold: $40 (fireplace bellows)
  • Average Price Sold: $25.77
  • Returns: 0
  • Number of items listed this week: 34

What Sells On eBay: Mega 30 Day Handling Time Edition

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp4  Download .ogv

After traveling for 30 days and not shipping until we returned, we had 108 items to pack. Luckily we were able to find every one of them and get them out the door. Some of my favorite and best sellers were vintage hats.

Scavenger Life Episode 258: How a Teenager Created an eBay Business Instead of Working for Minimum Wage

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

For the past couple years, we've gotten requests to interview Nandry, the Teenage Thrifter. Thanks to Chris who did an introduction, we finally had the pleasure of talking with Nandry.

This interview is especially appropriate after our recent conversation with Jim Collins, who shared a lifetime of knowledge and experience about saving money, investing, and taking chances. Now we hear from a young woman who's just starting out on her journey for independence in a very connected online world.

Nandry is 18 and is about to go off to college after just graduating from high school. She decided to be home schooled during her high school years. Instead of working at the local fast food joint after six period, she was running her own eBay business during the day. Not only was she plotting her own education, she was making her own money (and much more than minimum wage) and learning business skills that will only amplify and improve as she gets older. What awesome parents she must have.

Though we don't plan to have kids, many sellers are knee deep in rug rats. We have lots of conversations in the comments about how to get young people into starting their own business. I'm not sure if Nandry can give you a definitive solution, but at least you can hear what motivates her.

Just ask Nandry any questions in the comments below. We'll see if she can stop by to answer them.

What Sells On eBay: Super Guest Edition 2 w/ Steve Schultz

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp4  Download .ogv

A big Thank You to Steve for sending us some great What Sold videos the last couple weeks while we travel. Our favorite sales of his are the Casio keyboards (2 weeks in a row) and a bottle of Crabtree & Evelyn cologne. Wow.

Scavenger Life Episode 257: Greetings from New Orleans!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Here we are in The Big Easy, The Crescent City, New Orleans. We're working our tech job so we're super tired and maxed out. But we did have time to record this podcast before we started the madness.

Here are the links we mentioned in this episode:
--If you are considering selling clothes for full time money on eBay, listen to our conversations with Cindi of Amazing Taste and Dan and Lisa of NewVintageNY. Both stores are extremely successful but you'll hear the work it takes to make it happen.
--We all discovered the free shipping supplies from eBay that you can get if you have a store subscription. Read more about it here.
--Read about the designer Hawaiian aka Aloha shirts that are now in style.

We know it was slow for some. Hope things pick up for us all.

 Our Store Week May 1-7, 2016
  • Store #1
  • Total Items in Store: 3665
  • Items Sold: 19
  • Cost of Items Sold: $94
  • Total Sales: $1,349.49
  • Highest Price Sold: $450 (vintage painting)
  • Average Price Sold: $71.01
  • Returns: 2
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $50
  • Number of items listed this week: 0
  • (Thanks for the numbers help, Felisa!!)

  • ----------
  • Amazon FBA Store
  • Number of items sold: 14
  • Amazon total sales: $265.64
  • Amazon FBA Fees: $121.93
  • COGS (shipment to FBA included): $25
  • Net profit after COGS: $118.76

  • Bonanza:
  • Sold 1 items for $40
  • ----------

  • Store #2
  • Total Items in Store: 853
  • Items Sold: 9
  • Cost of Items Sold: $25
  • Total Sales: $403.74
  • Highest Price Sold: $125 (vintage brass rubbing)
  • Average Price Sold: $44.86
  • Returns: 0
  • Number of items listed this week: 0

What Sells On eBay: Super Guest Edition w/ Steve Schultz

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp4  Download .ogv

Regular listeners know that we travel several times a year for long 4-8 week trips. We continue to sell on eBay by simply extending our handling time. I know it sounds crazy, but buyers will wait for their item if you set the correct expectation. Since we've been on our current trip, we've sold 60 items on eBay over the last fourteen days. We have another eleven days on the road. So far not a single buyer has asked for a refund and are okay with the delayed shipping. (Or at least no one has complained after being notified by a message.) Our store is always open.

In this same period, we've sold 41 items on Amazon FBA. It certainly is nice that we don't have to ship these items. Send it in and let Amazon ship. But they certainly make you pay for this service.

Since we aren't shipping and can't video our sales, Steve Schultz has allowed us to post his "What Sold" video. He's been a strong part of this community for a long time. We love to see how he finds and sells vintage electronics for big money, while still selling a steady stream of bread and butter items. Check out the conversation we recorded with him last year. Feel free to link to your sold video in the comments.

And lastly, Justin from Selery asked if sellers would help him out. From what I gather, he's trying to build an "FBA for eBay" service where his company would photograph and list items on eBay that you send them. Like FBA, they would store the item and ship when it sold. Instead of trying to hire a personal photographer and lister on Craigslist, they'd do it for a fee.  There's lots of details to consider, so take his survey so he can find out what would be helpful. Justin said he'd send $5 to the first fifteen people who complete it.

Scavenger Life Episode 256: What Is Your Scavenger Master Plan?

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

We're wrapping up our week vacation in Bend, Oregon. A week is never enough to enjoy a place.  Just when we start relaxing and finding our favorite places, it's time to go. Staying longer is always a huge benefit to owning our own time. We'll be doing the next podcast from New Orleans.

Let's talk about The Master Plan.

If you're just starting selling online, then the most important thing is figuring out a sane process and successfully selling one item at a time. Most new sellers stumble and fail at the start. Scavenging sounds fun, but then the selling part seems to much trouble. It feels like work.

The next step is to get all your monthly bills paid from scavenging. For those that can do it, this is a big accomplishment. There is a trail of burnt out eBay stores that just couldn't consistently list and sell.

Or you might have a full time job that you love/tolerate, and just sell on the side. The goal is to make extra money for a yearly vacation, make an extra payment on the house, etc. Your eBay store is some nice extra income, but you can live without it.

But then you might be like us. You've built a robust eBay/Amazon pipeline. You do this for a living and live in frugal luxury. All your monthly bills get paid. You have no consumer debt. You are making extra payments on the mortgage. You've built up savings to buffer any down times. If you've done everything right, you still have extra money. Now what?

There's single answer for everyone. We're investing in rental property. Now we're starting to think where we want our lives to be when we're in our 50's. Our interview with Jim Collins was cool because he's part of a community that believes in Index Funds. We see eBay as our jumping off point. And we have to be grateful we aren't living hand to mouth anymore. Hope some of you are finding this freedom too.

Here are the links we discussed in the podcast:

Our Store Week April 24-30, 2016
  • Store #1
  • Total Items in Store: 3682
  • Items Sold: 13
  • Cost of Items Sold: $86
  • Total Sales: $1,065.87
  • Highest Price Sold: $500 (jewelry, unpaid)
  • Average Price Sold: $81.99
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $50
  • Number of items listed this week: 0

  • ----------
  • Amazon FBA Store
  • Amazon total sales: $654.77
  • Amazon FBA Fees: $242.21
  • Net profit after COGS: $436.42

  • Bonanza:
  • Sold 2 items for $50
  • ----------

  • Store #2
  • Total Items in Store: 864
  • Items Sold: 9
  • Cost of Items Sold: $10
  • Total Sales: $228.33
  • Highest Price Sold: $50 (vintage hipster cap)
  • Average Price Sold: $25.37
  • Returns: 0
  • Number of items listed this week: 0

Scavenger Life Episode 255: Jim Collins talks about How Scavengers Can Achieve Financial Independence

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Hi from Bellingham, Washington! We're about to head to Bend, Oregon where we'll have a week to enjoy life before our next job. Are we scavenging? Of course we are.

In lieu of posting our usual weekly update on our scavenging and selling, we're sharing an interview we did we Jim Collins of jlcollinsnh.com.  He's one of the strong voices in the Early Retirement or FI (financial independence) community. This is where people save enough money where they no longer need to work to pay their bills because they can live on their investments. This is called the 4% rule. The point is to stop working, but have the ability to do your best work.

Jim interviewed us several months ago. When I originally tried to interview him several months ago, I felt I did a poor job. His experience and knowledge is so rich that I initially had trouble finding a clear path through his story. But Jim was kind enough to let me interview him a second time which turned out much better.

Jim's readers will probably be familiar with his story and philosophy. He started saving and living frugal as a young man, which gave him freedom of choice is his work life. As his career progressed, he consistently saved and invested his money, which has given him the ability to comfortably retire. Unlike today, he didn't have the benefit of online communities that are discussing and sharing different strategies to gain financial independence. This is the story of how Jim found his own way.

For Scavengers here, we wanted to share what we are striving for by finding junk and selling it online. The first goal is to simply work hard for ourselves, instead of working hard for someone else. No more going into the office and dealing with the unhealthy dynamics of the workplace. Instead we own our time and have reached a level of daily satisfaction in our life we never thought we could have.

But our ultimate goal isn't to just sell things online for the rest of our lives.  By being super thrifty and saving our eBay earnings, we hope to continue to pay off our debts, aggressively build our rental business, and then follow the 4% rule to be able to more fully focus on the projects we enjoy doing.

This is what Financial Independence is all about. We're a long way from early retirement, but as Jim makes clear in his story, it's about committing to the vision and doing it a day at a time.

Here are some of the links Jim mentions in our conversation:
--His famous stock series
--What are index funds? and How do they work?
--What is a safe withdrawal rate on retirement funds?
--The 4% rule
--Why Debt is a burden
--A case study when everything goes wrong in your financial planning.
--Jim's awesome video channeling John Goodman
--How Jim lost money in real estate
--How Jim's "short attention span" pushed him to keep finding new jobs/challenges

Scavenger Life Episode 254: This is the Slowest Week We've Ever Had

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

We had our worst week on eBay that we can remember. Why? Difficult to say but there are probably several contributing factors. Since we've been starting our Amazon FBA business, we simply haven't listed much on eBay over the past two months. Since we're about to leave on  four week trip, this listing situation won't get any better!

Some sellers have said that the April 18 tax deadline has slowed slows down for them as well. Who knows. Some weeks are slow. Keep filling the pipeline.

Some listeners asked us why we aren't angry at eBay for raising their subscription prices in the Spring Seller Update. Instead of just being angry at any kind of change, we encourage everyone to do their numbers. Let's be specific.

In our Anchor subscription, I did the calculations and realized that though we'll pay a little more per month, we can now list 6,000 more items (!!!!) as part of the price. So it's up to us to keep filling the pipeline. That's a bargain.

In our second eBay store at the Premium subscription, we ran the numbers and turns out we'll be paying less per month because we were paying extra for items over the Premium limit. So $60/month for 1000 items saves us money.

It's justified to be angry when change affects your business, but it'll help us all if we base the anger in facts. Please feel free to share your numbers in the comments.

Hope you had a good week. Did anyone go buy a bunch of Marimekko at Target this weekend to resell?

Our Store Week April 10-16, 2016
  • Store #1
  • Total Items in Store: 3719
  • Items Sold: 15
  • Cost of Items Sold: $107
  • Total Sales: $500.26
  • Highest Price Sold: $140 (vintage books)
  • Average Price Sold: $33.35
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $60
  • Number of items listed this week: 47

  • ----------
  • Amazon FBA Store Sales: ? Amazon total sales: $?? Amazon FBA Fees: $??? COGS (shipment to FBA included): $?? Net profit after COGS: $??? 
  • Bonanza: Sold 4 items for $180 
  •  ----------

  • Store #2
  • Total Items in Store: 884
  • Items Sold: 8
  • Cost of Items Sold: $15
  • Total Sales: $408.94
  • Highest Price Sold: $97 (vintage Lotus software)
  • Average Price Sold: $51.12
  • Returns: 0
  • Number of items listed this week: 25