Seller Conversation: What Were the Old Days of eBay Like? iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

This week we're talking with Sylvia (aka redleader98) about the "early days of eBay". 

When we started selling on eBay in 2008, online commerce was already at full throttle. We quickly learned that it was more beneficial to sell our items using "Buy It Now" vs Auctions. There were hints that older sellers were angry at eBay about something, but we didn't really worry about it because we were happy to find a way to make a living. Once we found the eBay community forums, we learned about the big changes that eBay made before we joined. Sellers could no longer leave buyers negative feedback. Fees were substantially raised. Sellers who started out on eBay felt like they were stabbed in the back. I guess they finally realized eBay was a mindless corporation that was always hungry for profits. The Community Forums became a place to rant and rave. As new sellers, we certainly didn't feel comfortable finding useful info there.

Sylvia was selling in those early days and remembers what is was like before the big changes. Online selling was still relatively new and eBay was one of the main places to buy anything. Sellers put anything and everything on auction and it sold. Early eBayers talk about how it felt like a gold rush. Beanie Babies were an actual thing people wanted to buy. I dont know if this is an example of the past always looking brighter, but it sounds like an awesome time.

Sylvia talks about the community of sellers that she belonged to. Before blogs, people met in person to help each other. They had regular meetings where they discussed eBay issues and helped each other solve problems. They even had a float in their town's 4th of July parade! That is some super nerdy stuff.

I always remind sellers that eBay is still always in the top ten most popular sites on the internet. Though there is now massive competition for online sellers, there are infinitely more people buying online each day and this number is growing. It's never been a better time to sell online. Plus, we now have these blogs and youtube communities to help each other. Yes--you must work hard and treat your eBay store like a business, but everything still eventually sells.

If you were around in eBay's early days, we'd love to hear some of your stories in the comments. Instead of telling us how angry you are at eBay, we'd love to hear how you had to change your methods for selling online as ecommerce has become more sophisticated. Sylvia says she'd be happy to answer any questions that newer sellers might have about how it used to be.

Episode 198: When Does it Make Sense to Quit Your Job to Sell on eBay Fulltime? iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

This week we're recording from the beautiful Pacific Beach in San Diego. This ocean adventure is a reward to ourselves for working a long week at a job we did in LA. Even though we sell on eBay full-time, we still take these jobs from time to time. It's good money but comes with a lot of stress. Reminds us why we chose to sell on eBay full-time. In this podcast, you'll hear us debate the pros and cons of working for someone else.

Links we talked about this week:
--This is the famous photo of Mikey and Wendy wirelessly printing eBay labels and shipping while camping.
--A great article titled: "Shopping for antiques to find my mother". These are the people who buy our stuff on eBay.
--Alibaba is being sued by some major brands (Gucci, Polo) for allowing the sale counterfeit products. We all knew this was coming. Shows why it's tough to sell these brands on eBay because there are so many fakes out there.

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers
Our Store Week May 10-16, 2015

  • Total Items in Store: 3817
  • Items Sold: 21
  • Cost of Items Sold: $49
  • Total Sales: $978.20
  • Highest Price Sold: $180 (Vintage painters box)
  • Average Price Sold: $46.57
  • International Sales: 0 (0 GSP)
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $9
  • Number of items listed this week: 0

Episode 197: Seller Conversation with Amazing*Taste, the Wife and Husband Team Selling Fulltime for the Family iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

As many commenters on this blog know, Amazing*Taste's numbers are, well, amazing. We are always inspired by her tenacity and drive. Cyndi started out selling on her own, focused on clothes because she loves fashion, and built a thriving eBay store. Then she convinced her husband to quit his job and become her partner in the business. They are now both at home together as they raise their three kids.

They often sell over $3000 worth of clothes a week. Since they do all the work themselves, Cyndi shares their workflow and strategies for selling this much quantity week in and week out. (Spoiler alert: she confirms there are no short cuts to putting in the hours of work).

Thanks for sharing, Cyndi! Leave any questions in the comments for Amazing*Taste to answer.

Scavenger Life Episode 196: What Will You Tell Your Grandkids About Your Scavenging Life? iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

In school no one ever taught us that we could make a living selling junk on the internet. Since Scavenging is now our prime source of income, we're always wondering how we'll look back on this life as we grow older. Scavenging is our career. It has become our identity. It's nothing we were trained for, but a way of life we've discovered for ourselves and love. One reason why we started this podcast was to find others like us we could talk to about treasure hunting.

For this week's throw back episode, listen to us share our Silent Method of dealing with grumpy buyers that we published a year ago. Still works for us every time .

Check out this video of Griff explaining how he chooses to put an item up for auction or fixed price. We break the rules he lays down, but always interesting to see how other sellers make their choices.

This week we're doing the podcast from the road while we work in Los Angeles and then rent a beach cottage in San Diego for a long weekend. The next time you travel, try staying in an Airbnb rental instead of a hotel. Signing up here will give us both $25 credit. We swear you'll never go back to renting anonymous hotel rooms again.

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers
Our Store Week May 3-9, 2015

  • Total Items in Store: 3843
  • Items Sold: 45
  • Cost of Items Sold: $57
  • Total Sales: $1,775.62
  • Highest Price Sold: $150 (Vintage costume jewelry necklace)
  • Average Price Sold: $39.44
  • International Sales: 3 (1 GSP)
  • Returns: 2
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $20
  • Number of items listed this week: 0

Scavenger Life Episode 195: How We Gave Ourselves Our Dream Job iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

This week we talk about how selling on eBay has given us the time to find out all the things that interest us.  We do enjoy scavenging, researching, and learning to run our own businesses. But we also are learning about other things we love to do. We would never have this chance if we were working a full time job for someone else.

--The folks at FrugalWoods describe clearly the tyranny of the workweek schedule.
--Linda linked to a great article about a couple who decided to shrink their successful business so they had more time to live.
--eBay announced that they are doing away with their Traffic Reports for your store. That's fne with us. They sucked anyway and didn't work.  Hopefully they'll implement better stats like Google Analytics.
--Good conversation in the comments on building the best eBay storage in our home.
--Check out the Buyer Requirement Activity Log that shows who was blocked from buying one of your items because of self-imposed limits on your store.

If you want to do some hiking in the mountains, rent our Farmhouse. Meeting us is optional!

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers
Our Store Week April 26-May 2, 2015

  • Total Items in Store: 3829
  • Items Sold: 28
  • Cost of Items Sold: $57
  • Total Sales: $1,455.90
  • Highest Price Sold: $199 (Vintage Levis Suede Coat)
  • Average Price Sold: $51.96
  • International Sales: 4 (3 GSP)
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $40
  • Number of items listed this week: 0

Scavenger Life Episode 194: If You Don't Spend Money, You Don't have To Work So Hard! iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

We've been enjoying digging into the newly discovered blog, Frugal Woods. It's nice to find others who are documenting their process of "financial independence and simple living" (we like that tagline!) They recently posted about how to be frugal as a couple which is an extremely important topic for any couple/family deciding to quit their job and depend on eBay for full-time income.

The Frugalwoods team are interesting because they're working hard making all their money now while they have jobs that pay big salaries. They're extremely focused like a laser beam. Then they'll buy their rural homestead, have a nice investment account and rental that generates interest and enjoy the simple life (at 31!) We've done it backwards where we quit our jobs and bought the homestead first...and are now building businesses to make the money we need to live this simple life. Good news is: there's no one right way to do it. As Ryanne said in this podcast, the internet really has opened up all possibilities for people like us to disconnect from any one system of living.

If we weren't equally frugal as a couple, this life we're building couldn't happen because it's very narrow path we're traveling. If we had a big expense like needing to buy a $20k+ new car, or a desire to take an expensive vacation, or requiring a diamond wedding ring, it'd immediately throw off our current investment in our future like buying another rental property or paying off our home. A huge expense like that would set our plans back for several years while we work hard to pay it off before we could start building again.

Instead, we're always talking about our plans and what we want out of life. Every detail and purchase matters. We keep track of numbers and share them with each other. The specifics can change as we gain experience and information, but the direction is always the same. WE DON'T WASTE MONEY ON BULLSHIT. The most precious thing to us is our time and spending it with each other. Any purchase that would get in the way of this is laughed off. We recently shared our plan to aggressively pay off all our debt (ie the Mortgage) in the next five years. And of course, we love the life of the Scavenger. It's the glue that keeps us together.

So if you're striving for a different way of life by selling on eBay, make sure your partner is on board. (Frugalwoods has a guest post for single people). Many aspects of scavenging and selling can be fun for sure, but it is a lot of work. This is why every dollar we make on eBay needs to count towards our larger goal. If we had a big hole of wasted spending that sucked our profits each month, then I can imagine that we could get discouraged quickly as we list on eBay. The feeling of "what's the point?" could loom larger and larger if we didn't have a handle on our spending. (See the conversation about the Tightwad Gazette) Selling on eBay works for us because it's a wealth generator versus just a sweatshop we've built for ourselves.

In this is episode we discussed these links:
--We use eBay's "Private offer" all the time to sell items to people who simply ask us questions.
--A listener asked about our Ting referral link. We each get $25 if you sign up. But no matter what, please kill your current phone bill by signing up for any of the discount carriers (TracFone, Virgin, Republic Wireless). It's the easiest monthly bill you can reduce.
--Are you a member of the Oregon Trail generation?
--This month's throwback episode will also be the answer to one listener's question: How we buy and sell artwork and How we pack delicate artwork. And check out the supplies we use on a regular basis to pack.

If you're looking for a cool (and affordable) vacation spot, rent our mountain Farmhouse. And of course we give deals to all official Scavengers.

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers
Our Store Week April 19-25, 2015

  • Total Items in Store: 3905
  • Items Sold: 40
  • Cost of Items Sold: $241
  • Total Sales: $1,993.60
  • Highest Price Sold: $200 (Vintage persian rug)
  • Average Price Sold: $49.82
  • International Sales: 4 (3 GSP)
  • Returns: 2
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $450
  • Number of items listed this week: 122

Episode 193: Seller Conversation- When Selling on eBay is More Fun Than Your Real Job iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

If you are involved in our comments, Chicago Tony V is a relative newcomer to the community. His posts are clear and pertinent as if he's not a newbie. We got to talking on email and decided he had a story that other sellers might relate to.

Many people sell on eBay part-time or as a side income. They work all day, are maybe even raising kids, and then list in the evening and weekends. Ryanne and I are in awe of you people. We sell on eBay full time and still struggle to juggle the details that eBay demands we keep track of.

It turns out that Tony doesn't have another job, but he actually owns and help runs three businesses with multiple employees and grossing quite a lot of revenue. So why would he want to sell on eBay? Tony's answer was intriguing:
"eBay reminds me of the law of cause and effect.  If I don’t list, I don’t sell.  This simple lesson is so easily spread across my other businesses.  It’s a great reminder.  Also, eBay teaches me that every customer interaction is important.  Every detail has meaning.  Again, all stuff that my other businesses could learn from.

I think in a way, eBay has just given me a new perspective.  It’s like my own little science lab where I get to learn things that I can infuse into my main businesses.  It’s been totally helpful that way."
 So turn on the podcast, start packing/listing, and enjoy the show.

What Sells In Our eBay Store: Bausch Lomb Wayfarers, Pottery Barn Shelf, Real Shell Cameo iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Some cool stuff this week. Keep an eye out for these Hamilton drawers, the have sold really well for us in the past and people overlook them because they're big and heavy.