What Sells In Our eBay Store: Green Star Juicer, 1948 Mickey Mouse Watch, Samsonite Oyster

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

One of our highest sales of all time was an $800 1948 Mickey Mouse watch. Check out completed listings for other similar watches on eBay and be sure to keep yours eyes out for those! We learned about this watch a few months earlier by seeing a similar one randomly on Antiques Roadshow.

Here are the 19x24 poly mailers that we love. See our resources page for other sizes and other shipping supplies we use.

Scavenger Life Episode 191: Paying Off Debt Like Our Hair Is On Fire

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

In 2011, we bought a run down house across town from us. Our home was paid off, so we borrowed against it because we were “making a big bet”. We were going to use our eBay profits, renovate the hell out of this old brick farmhouse, and turn it into a money making machine (aka vacation rental). If you listen to us regularly, you know much of this story by now.

But during those three years of renovation, we didn’t talk much about what was going on. Hell, we didn’t even tell our family right away that we even bought this house. How crazy were we? Did we just buy a money pit? What did we know about rentals?

All of our eBay profits went into this place. Month after month. We’d make money and reinvest it back into this house. New wiring. New lights. New plumbing. New floors. It felt endless. We had a lot of sleepless nights and a good number of arguments caused by regular tension and worry. Some months we had to take a break because it felt we were too close to the edge. But we had a vision.

When we started our eBay business, we just bought what we loved (old leather boots and wool coats). Then we learned and expanded what we loved to sell. Our business grew naturally. With this vacation rental, we created a house that we would want to stay in (lots of wood and clean lines). When we ever get stressed in either business, we just ask ourselves, “Does this make sense and excite us?” This simple question gets us through every time.

Fast forward to 2015. We’re booked 22 nights this month in just our second month of business. It’s beyond our wildest dreams (though we need a longer rent history before I really feel good). Now, instead of spending money on this house, we’re actually making money. Not as much money as our eBay business, but it’s a solid second income stream.

So what do we do with this “extra” money that feels so unnatural? PAY DOWN DEBT. I refer to a great post over at  Frugalwoods. This young couple are part of the extreme/early retirement culture (aka thrifty as hell) that aim to save every penny as quick as possible so they can do the work/fun/travel/live/family on their own terms.

We have modest? debt (about $180k) from buying the rental house and another three acres of land near us (we like land). Debt always has us worried because it means we always have to pay someone each month for years (we also hate paying interest). Instead of always letting this debt hover over me like a cloud, I finally took my own advice and DID THE NUMBERS. I used this great “pay down loan” calculator. If we make an extra $1500 payment each month, we’ll pay off our debt in five years. What?! Because we’re thrifty as hell, this is doable. We’re going to treat that extra mortgage payment like it’s a MUST PAY bill. So there you go, that’s our new vision. Sell old shoes on eBay, rent to vacationers, and pay down our debt like our hair is on fire.

Okay, let’s talk about this week:
We had an incredible good week in our eBay store. Like we always say, list it and forget it. Some weeks will be slow. Some weeks will be good. All you can do is fill the pipeline with cool stuff.

I have to mention that our phone bill still amazes me after a year of using Ting. We spend about $50 total for two phones vs the $200 we used to spend on AT&T. No change in usage. And I love that if we don’t use our phones much, we pay even less. I have no idea how the big phone companies stay in business. There are lost of these smaller cell providers (Tracphone, Republic Wireless, etc) This is the one monthly bill that seems easiest to reduce.

Comments were good again last week:
—I continue to scare off new commenters because I’m a blowhard, but this person did a good job summing up what we’re trying to accomplish
—Someone suggested trying setting up Business Policies on your store to help streamline listing. We tried this once but seems to work better if you sell a small set of the same items. What do you think?
—Deal Diva pointed us to another great series of videos showing how to safely scrap the gold in certain computer parts.

This week’s throw back episode looks back at how we do our taxes since it’s tax season. We essentially do our taxes the same way year in and year out. It’s all about keeping up with our accounting each month.

And if you want to come spend your vacation with us, rent our Farmhouse in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. And of course we give discounts to fellow Scavengers.

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers
Our Store Week April 5-11, 2015

  • Total Items in Store: 3881
  • Items Sold: 39
  • Cost of Items Sold: $240
  • Total Sales: $$2,749.25 (+ Amazon $400) = 3,149.25
  • Highest Price Sold: $800 (Vintage Watch )
  • Average Price Sold: $80.74
  • International Sales: 2 (1 GSP)
  • Returns: 1
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $190
  • Number of items listed this week: 110

Scavenger Life Episode 190: I'm So eBay Lazy I Want To Throw Up

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

When we took that big leap...quit our jobs!!!!...and started selling on eBay full time, we quickly learned that eBay is a hungry beast. The fear of not making enough money to cover the bills plagued our nightmares. Listing was the only antidote to the fear. There was never the feeling of "being done" so we constantly pushed ourselves to keep listing. When we weren't, we often felt so eBay lazy we wanted to throw up.

That's what happened to us this past week. We had a lot of life things to do. Almost no listing was done.

But let's be honest. Everything's okay. When we look at our numbers, we have consistently made enough to cover our bills (and more) for several years. And we see plenty of other sellers like us do the same. I think this is just the feeling that anyone that runs their own business feels. Always pushing yourself.

If you build up a big enough inventory, you buy yourself time to live.  I'm glad we have this luxury. The feeling of "eBay laziness" is just the gentle reminder that we're equally independent of an employer but dependent on staying connected to our business.

Here are the links we discussed in this podcast:
--Tina sent us a new mug idea. Find it, List it, Sell it, Ship it!
--Jay saw an eBay listing that let buyers pay by an installment plan. Anyone know how to put this on your listings?
--Marc from NJ sent in this addictive site, Storage Battles.
 --Amazing Taste explains how to create coupons and special deals for buyers on your eBay store.
--Zach shared how to change your store/seller name and make sure eBay updates this info throughout the site.
--Check out this guy who records himself finding treasures in his apartment's dumpster. (Thanks Deal Diva)

This week as our Throw Back episode, check out this episode from a year ago on how we went full time eBay.

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

The Weekly Scavenger Numbers
Our Store Week March 29-April 4, 2015

  • Total Items in Store: 3802
  • Items Sold: 31
  • Cost of Items Sold: $140
  • Total Sales: $1,618.84 (+ Bonanza: $40 + Amazon $35 + Craigslist: $250) = $1943
  • Highest Price Sold: $450 (Commercial Panini Grill )
  • Average Price Sold: $64.51
  • International Sales: 3 (2 GSP)
  • Returns: 2
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $170
  • Number of items listed this week: 14

How to fix your eBay Search Engine Keywords (aka WTF!?)

Last week, one of our community members, Amazing*Taste, let everyone know about a little secret: eBay has keywords and they're all messed if you don't updated them manually. She says:
1. Under Account - Click Manage My Store
2. On the left click - Search Engine Keywords
3. For every one of your store categories you need to go through and manually enter the keywords someone searching on Google might use to find items in that category.
4. The key here is that you can't use the same word more than twice or it won't let you submit them. This is because Google takes that as keyword spamming. So if you sell iPhone cases and the first word in the top listings are iPhone cases due to the default you are getting kicked out of Google for Keyword spamming.
5. Also remember more than likely no one is searching your store name on Google so if the first keyword that eBay default is offering is your store name you are losing on Google.
6. Last tip: When I do mine I open my keywords in one screen and my store in another. Then I refine the search to highest priced items first. That way I am using keywords from those listings.
So we checked our keywords and they were all screwy. Each field had the same exact words describing a single item in our store. Every category was the same. WTF? With all the engineers eBay has, it's weird they haven't created a better default system.

Go here to read how eBay does their Keywords. Why is this important? Supposedly these keywords are one way that Google finds your items.

There's been a lot of hair pulling and crying about how to write these keywords. So in the screenshot above, we show you how we filled in our fields for our "Lighting and Lamps" category. We just used words for some of our most expensive lamps. No repetition.

Some sellers say their sales shot up after making their keywords more relevant. So far we haven't seen a huge surge so difficult to know how effective it is. Certainly can't hurt. For new sellers, we highly recommend not freaking out about this. First it only affects sellers with store subscriptions. And remember too that we've been selling for six years without ever having known about eBay's keywords, and we have a successful full time eBay business. Stuff will always sell if you are listing quality items.

As Amazing*Taste commented:
You are definitely over thinking this. Honestly just throw some keywords onto each line that reflect that store category and then let it go. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn't. The important thing about testing new business strategies is to not let them take up so much time that you neglect the proven strategies - List more = Sell more.

Scavenger Life Episode 189: Getting Paid To Have Fun (Scavenger Style)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 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

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 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) mstanton6@yahoo.com

    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

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ebay-scavengers/id638443029?mt=2 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?