08/19/2018 at 7:36 pm #47706
08/19/2018 at 7:48 pm #47709
08/12/18 – 08/18/18
WTD Sales $ $307.74
WTD Sales # 13
WTD ASP $23.67
Buyer Shipping $ $146.58
My Shipping $ 0
# Days so far 6.97
Avg. Daily $ $44.15
Proj. Week $ $309.06
WTD # Listed 23
WTD $ Listed $1028.84
ASP $ Listed $44.73
Cancelled # 0
Cancelled $ 0
Unpaid # 0
Unpaid $ 0
Refunded # 0
Refunded $ 0
Best Offer # 5
Best Offer $ $81.98
Best Offer ASP $ 16.4
I am calling this week Reporting week.
Notice anything different about my reported numbers for the week above? Yes, it is a different format, but there is a reason. This was generated by my new daily flash (or dashboard) report from Wonder Lister (my custom code)! This report was designed to run every day to give me a snapshot of where the business is at each day. I ran it just before Midnight last night. In the future, it will be setup to run automatically just before Midnight and print out to the printer for me. There are 4 fields below that I would like to include in this daily report, but haven’t yet:
Number of Items in the store: 2435
Highest Price Sold: $41 (Members Only Jacket)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $ 35
I will do another post below about the report.
08/19/2018 at 9:06 pm #47713
What is WTD?
08/19/2018 at 9:30 pm #47714
WTD is Week to Date. I am running this on a daily basis and this give me Week to Date numbers.
08/19/2018 at 9:33 pm #47715
And My Shipping $ is 0 because there is an issue with Wonder Lister not recording this number. I have sent a couple requests to Wonder Lister and so has Mike, but I haven’t heard of a fix yet.
08/19/2018 at 7:57 pm #47711
I am also thinking of adding information about partial refunds, feedback, Top 10 items for hit counts, and # of items being watched. The sky really is the limit on this. I am also thinking of doing a last year report for the current week and a YOY comparision. Also, I have MTD and YTD reports in the works.
One note about the field “Proj. Week $” above: What this does is based on my average sell $ till that point in the week, it will predict what my end of the week Total Sales $ will be. I was always doing this calculation when I looked at my Wonder Lister Sales Report, but now it is right there for me. For example, if I have sold $250 after 3.5 days (“# Days so far”), then it would predict that I will sell $500 by the end of the week.
I am really excited about this report for a number of reasons, but main reason is that it will be able to COGS for me at the end of the year. In fact, one side benefit of this is that I can see the possibility of Wonder Lister for my business. I can track everything in the SQL Server database which makes reporting much easier, backups automatic, and everything in one place for an Enterprise system for my business. And another benefit of this is that when I get everything in the database (and I do mean everything) I will be able to do any analysis I want as long as the detail is there to get it. Since I am writing custom SQL, I can slice and dice the data anyway I want and can make it a scheduled job to go to an Excel file and\or print to the printer.
I also developed another daily report this week: the pick list report. The report has the following fields:
Title PurchasedDate Bin container area stack TransactionPrice ActualShippingCost QuantityPurchased AmountPaid Ind_Cog
So, this report will tell me exactly where my container is (I have 10 areas, each area has up to 6 stacks of containers in it. This directs me to the exact stack). I also wonder when something sells, how much did I pay for that. This will also tell me that after I load in my COGS to the database.
I already have this report setup to go to Excel automatically at set times of the day thru the Windows Task Scheduler. I can add as many times as I want and can also send it directly to the printer if I want to.
This report doesn’t save me much time right now, but come the busy season, it will save a ton of time. Also, if a bin moves (which happens quite frequently when I merge containers to reclaim space) then I only have to update it one place in the database and everything keeps working correctly.
This may seem like overkill to some people, but I did a lot of this because I needed a year end report for taxes. I had to learn where all the data was located in Wonder Lister.
The goal is to have all my processes in place to update the database a little at a time through my set business processes. Then, at the end of the year it is just a press of a button to get my tax numbers! Also, just about any kind of analysis is possible. One that I thought may be interesting is track how many miles you go for an item. For example, you drive 10 miles to an estate sale and you buy 20 items. That means you drove 20 miles round trip and you bought 20 items. That would be 1 mile for each item. Not super important, but if you are driving too far and not buying enough this would bring that to light. This is just one example of what would be possible to find out.
Just for fun, I just had to know what the most popular first name of the people who have bought from me in the last year and half were. And the results are:
08/20/2018 at 12:32 pm #47744
Man.. Mark you are doing some serious coding and customization on WonderLister. Must be great to have those skills. If I want something i have to ask the guys at WL to create the code and modify my SQL dBase with it. You sure are adding a lot. Hope the code doesn’t get all scrambled and forces something in another area to malfunction.
Are you just doing it through the report writer aspects and using data fields that are already there or are you creating new custom fields for data entry and then adding your own? I created 5 or 6 custom fields myself way back when. I added when bought, where bought, actual scale weight, photo location and date photographed, listed on Etsy and of course I had Shopify but the WL team has already coded that into the main dBase so don’t need my custom field any longer. And of course created 6 or 7 custom views that are crunched down to just show the relivant columns I want for those particular screen views. Other than that I don’t mess with the SQL coding from outside of what WL offers, plus don’t have the timew or skill to do so in the first place.
I have noticed lately that the WL team has been slower than usual to get back to me. I think it is beacuse several bigger projects have taken front seat with the engineer guys there and most of the time is going to those other projects as well as making the changes to keep up with Ebay updates.
What I do currently is just create a year end view, show and or hide the columns I don’t want then highlight that whole view and send to a spreadsheet I have. The Excel SS header has all the formulas to calculate the fields I import. That is about it for a year end. But also I close out my year end in Quicken and pull the P&L from there. MileIQ gives me our mileage and a 2nd tab in that SS tracks all the expenses that constitutes our home office deductions, etc.
Very interesting you can and are doing this customization yourself.
mike at mdc galleries and fine art
- This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by MDC Galleries & Fine Art.
08/20/2018 at 12:52 pm #47746
Yes, I have been doing some serious coding. I do SQL Server coding for my day job, so this fits in great. I have been doing reports for my employers for nearly my whole carear, now I get to for it for myself.
I don’t touch any WL code or tables. I create my own procedures and functions. I also create and join to new tables I create. For example, I created a containers table of my own. Then I join to that table for the pick list report. So, I want to put everything for the business into its own table that I can join to. So then everything will be in the SQLServer DB. I can then answer any question I have with a query or so.
08/21/2018 at 8:00 am #47783
Mark: Very impressive work. I love the concept of making your reporting informative and easy to produce. You can spend more time analyzing and less time building, and get the right info to know where your business is headed.
08/21/2018 at 5:13 pm #47815
Yes, I remember your talks about efficiency and this really fits in with that. This will make me a lot more efficient.
And this is what I need “informative and easy to produce” and “know where your business is headed.”
08/21/2018 at 9:00 am #47789
Mark: Interesting that you had to create a custom field for the location bins then “link-relate” to it to create a pick list. In my version of WL I have a field already available called Storage Bin Location. I had the WL team create that field for me way back early on. But never thought about the creation of a “pick list” from it.
I wonder if I ask the guys at WL to create a report for me that will link to that field just like you did, if I can get a report page as a “pick list”. Currently don’t need it, but as we grow, at some point we will have multiples [we hope] to pull daily and that is when it would be of a help.
BTW.. we also have a different way of doing the same thing and that is wwe use a very long custom SKU number which includes the item No., price we paid, date bought and the storage location surrounded by a bunch of “fake camoflauge” numbers to scrable and hide all of that and have that custom SKU number included as the last line in our Item Specifics. We created a custom field for it at the bottom of the IS section. So one way we already have a pick list [sort of] built in by just doing a print screen of our Sold list on Ebay and that SKU number shows up in the custom field and we can pick from that. Or we can use our phone and just scroll down the Solds and see the custom sku field there and pull while in the storage area from the phone. So, have a couple of ways of doing it, but for future planning I think it would be best to just have a quick one sheet pick list from WL.
Mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art
08/21/2018 at 5:24 pm #47816
I didn’t have to create location for the bin because you are right, it is already there in Storage Bin Location. The reason I did create my own table is that you have to remember I have nearly 2500 listings and trying to go back and update all of those would not be practical. So, I created my own table because the WL team doesn’t want me to update their tables (I could update them easily from the backend). I do have the bin # in the description of almost all 2500 listings. So, I wrote some fancy code to extract that and then look up the location in my container table. The added bonus is that when a bin moves, I only have to change that in one place and then the relatinal database takes over.
I would be willing to share a version of my pick list with you that would be customized to what you need. Just let me know what fields you would like and how many days back you want to go for unshipped items – I have it set to 4. Also, what directory you want the output to go to. I would think it would work for you. I can also give you setup instructions so that you can run it automatically from Windows Task Scheduler. If you are interested, leave your email address here or ask J&R to give you my email address.
08/21/2018 at 6:07 pm #47817
Thanks buddy appreciate that. May take you up on a little later down the road. currently hardly ever have more than 1 or 2 solds per day and that is fairly easy to remember as far as picking goes. But when we get to the slow period next spring will probably do it then.
So the WL team is telling you to shoo, shoo, stay out of our code. LOL funny.
I am well into the project of getting all our listing to move to Shopify. And the auto send to Twitter seems to be working fine. Once everything is in our Shopify Store then the next big prject is the Etsy interface, but still waiting on the WL team to get that ready. They said by early fall, so that should be just around the corner.
08/21/2018 at 6:25 pm #47821
The WL team does not expose any of their code. They don’t want me to change the data in their tables from the backend. I figured that because they have to keep track of what data has changed and send that up to ebay. If I am changing the data out from under them through the back door, I could get messed up data. So, I am fine with them telling me to stay away from changing data on the backend. That will protect both myself and them.
08/21/2018 at 6:41 pm #47823
Ok, just let me know when you are ready for the pick list report or that WTD report.
I am really interested in that WL Etsy interface. I have around 700 vintage items that I think would sell well on Etsy and give me another stream of income with hopefully relatively little work.
Please give any updates that you get on the Etsy interface. I am waiting in eager expectation!
08/22/2018 at 8:08 am #47845
Hey Mark. I love the fact that you are creating your own data. This is something I want to do as well. I have been looking into a way to only have to input data once i.e. when I am listing and not have to do double data entry. Currently I am achieving this with Excel and VLookups. Can you sell me on Wonder Lister? I have a decent amount of XP with SQL. I haven’t done much in the way of SP or Functions, but am adept at table creation, query construction, joining, etc.
08/22/2018 at 11:13 am #47853
Wonder Lister is a no-brianer for cost as long as you don’t have more than 2500 listings. It is $5\month up to 1000 listings and $10\month for up to 2500 listings. There is also the time factor. You will have to devote a little time to getting familar with WL. And if you are going to do some querying and creating your own tables, then that will require a lot more time to get familar with the Wonder Lister tables and where to find all the data.
Wonder Lister captures all of your data in a SQL Server database and then that sits on your PC. When I went through the setup, I requested that they set me up with SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio). SSMS allow you to access all of the database objects that Wonder Lister allows. You can query the data from here and create your own tables, procedures, functions, etc. My only caution would be not to alter, insert, update, or delete from any of the Wonder lister objects – leave those alone and create your own under your own schema.
So, there are some up-front barriers (time & some money), but I think the results are great. I am going to end up with an Enterprise System where all my data is stored in one place with automatic backups. I will be able to answer any question about the business with a query or possibly a little more. For time, you could do a little at a time. That is what I did. I took me quite a while to figure out all their data and make sense of it. I have had to fix old queries that weren’t quite right.
08/22/2018 at 12:33 pm #47855
Sounds exactly what I am looking for, Mark. I already have SSMS installed as I was in the market to do all this on my own, BUT, if I can use a 3rd party program to essentially handle the data with the ability to create my own data points, then it sounds perfect. Have any tips on setup? I would be in the 2500 listing tier for now (I have roughly 1050 listings).
08/22/2018 at 9:53 pm #47883
The setup is easy, they do most of it for you.
The main thing is getting your container number populated. If you already have that then you are ahead of the game. If not, 1050 listings is doable to go back and populate that. This is the key so that you can track COGS. You also have to have a plan for COGS.
08/24/2018 at 3:01 pm #47912
Interesting. I’ll look into it in the next few weeks. When you say “container”, what do you mean? I have a unique identifier I put in the SKU field on ebay (also how I number my pictures for future reference, if needed). On the COGS; I generally do thrift stores and places with a receipt piece-by-piece. On items I get at yard sales, auctions, etc., I lot up what I list in terms of listings and divide that by $$ spent. So, if I bought 11 items for $100, but only 10 ended up listed on ebay (we’ll say the other item is broken) then my COGS for that day is $10.
08/24/2018 at 3:21 pm #47914
For COGS, I mean that you have to have a method to get the actual cost that you paid for that item.
So, if you have a unique identifier in the sku that is good. Now you either have to put that in a field in Wonder Lister as part of the item listed for all 1050 items that you have, or do a lookup. I chose to do the lookup route. I created a COGS table with the same unique identifier as the sku, then I join to the COGS table and get the price I paid for the item. The COGS table is being created by importing all my spreadsheets that already have all this information. In the spreadsheet, I also have what I call the Buy Lot #\item # (every sale I buy things at gets a BL #). So, if I load that information in, then later I can get the following: date I bought the item, address, miles driven for the sale, type of sale that is was: Garage Sale, Estate, Auction, etc. (haven’t been consistent in tracking this to this point), etc.
After you get all that set up, you can then add your COGS to any report. I am working on that right now.
08/24/2018 at 3:24 pm #47915
In my previous post, I said – “Now you either have to put that in a field” – this is confusing.
What I meant to say is that now you either have to put the cost you paid for the item in another field of the listing as part of the item listed for all 1050 items that you have, or do a lookup.”
08/19/2018 at 10:12 pm #47716lavenderandoldlaceParticipant
- Location: north carolina
Hi everyone, new to the forum and podcasts. Finding them both terrific. I have two questions. Please forgive me if these have already been asked and answered. I was listening to the eBay Open break out podcast called collect, collect, sell. About 3/4 of the way through the podcast a women stood up and mentioned that an underutilized aspect of eBay is the inventory management tool available to all sellers. Does anyone use this? And if so where can it be found?
Second question. Thanks so much for posting sales numbers it is very generous. My question is about inventory. Are these numbers after all inventory is paid for? thanks in advance for your help.
All the best- donna
08/19/2018 at 10:20 pm #47717
Not sure what the inventory management tool may be.
All our inventory is paid for when we buy it. Each week we list how much we sell, how much gross profit we make, and we share our COGS (cost of goods sold).
What are you selling and what problem are you trying to solve? This will help other sellers know how to help.
08/20/2018 at 7:19 am #47720
Think lavender is asking whether your profit margins are net of Cost of Unsold Goods.
08/20/2018 at 7:25 am #47722
Ah, now I understand. I guess I should reword it. We show Gross Sales, then break down the cost of the COGS. I’ll change that for next week.
08/24/2018 at 8:29 pm #47935
It’s tricky to find the right balance of what to report and pay attention to. Obviously “item profit” is important – how much I made on any given sold item. But the cost of that item was usually accrued in some other week, so COGS doesn’t really matter for this week’s cashflow.
But expenditures including cost of unsold goods (bought this week) is relevant to this week’s flows.
08/24/2018 at 8:50 pm #47936
Totally agree about cashflow as the important number to running a business. But I think its important to look at the reasoning behind the numbers we share.
In 2013, instead of only talking about our week on eBay, we decided to share these simple numbers each week as an antidote to the Amazon Youtubers who were bragging about what they would gross (“I made $20k this week and you can too!”) If they showed their COGS and net profit, you’d see they probably made 5% profit if lucky. Or the eBay Youtubers who would make haul videos where they’d show what they bought and say “Here’s $5k made in just 30 minutes!” Obviously its just a pile of worthless junk till it actually gets listed and sells.
So you can actually look back and see our sales each week – COGS for the last five years. We don’t get rich by any means, but it’s reasonable money, buys our time, and helped us buy rental property. For anyone seriously wanting to sell online, we hoped this would be a solid reality for what they could expect if they invested their time.
Plus, its a reminder of how insane the Scavenger profit is. Buy for $1 and sell for $30? Thats 3000% profit. That’s insane. That’s everyday selling for most of us if not better.
Cashflow is completely necessary for each of our businesses to run. Not sure its as important to share that with each other, though I’d love to see those numbers if people wanted to share. I always want to know how people spend their profits.
08/24/2018 at 10:50 pm #47937
In percent terms, the profits are incredible.
Yep, I agree what you guys report is cool and 1000% better than the amazon hustler idea of accounting.
I think cash flow is important because I spend a lot on inventory and I need to make sure eBay isn’t a money sink for me, regardless of individual huge profits on particular items.
08/25/2018 at 9:00 am #47944
Jay and Simplico: I love this topic. Shocker, right? 🙂
I believe that BOTH numbers are important to know and understand. First and foremost, profit on the item after it sells. You HAVE to know that number at the time you are purchasing (remember, you BUY your profit). If you aren’t clearing good money for your time to list and sell, it isn’t a profitable activity.
But the weekly CASH FLOW is very important as well, for anyone looking to make this a viable part-time gig, and darn sure if it is a full-time business. You HAVE to understand what capital it will take to invest in the business for inventory, labor, and storage before the business is supplying solid returns. This is why I believe in STR and ASP tracking. By knowing your Average Selling Price and your Sell Thru Rate, you can reasonably predict the cash coming in. By knowing your Average COGS, you know your cash requirements to buy more inventory to ramp up.
This is what I do in my forecasting model. If I predict that we will list 150 items each week, I have to 150 items each week. If my average COGS is $5, then that is $750 I have to plan to spend each week. How long will it take to get that money back (plus profit)? This is where you forecast your Revenue by taking your current inventory level times your STR to get the numbers sold, times ASP to get your revenue. Repeat into the future as far as you need.
I like the forum being just the COGS on the items sold, but that cash flow discussion is vital to anyone getting serious. When we decided to get a photographer…the forecasting of the cash was key…
08/27/2018 at 12:05 pm #48054
Been meaning to bring this back since (I think) many different people than last time I mentioned about the way I calculate.
First, good news, I am back at $2000 sales per month since a long time with about 750 items listed and a great pile to list. I am happy since I solved my sourcing problem and found even more items when donating things out of my (ex)hoard (thnx to you guys and eBay I beat my hoarding disorder).
Second, always remembering I built my store to fund my mobile technology business, as a means to make it self sustainable before the main App was ready or a contract was signed.
My main tools are COGS (I use academic definition rather than the ones used freely here) and what I call the “Lot Cost” (in a nutshell, if I go to an auction or to Goodwill, the bill total is my “Lot Cost”).
So, considering that:
“last year” COGS = Beginning Inventory + Purchases during the period – Ending Inventory
and lot by lot cost, I have spreadsheets like the one paste at the end (it represents one auction I participated and the total is everything I paid and you can see I have individual prices on a per unity basis).
Then my “pricing strategy” says that I want to have a minimum 3-5 times total cost on a per item basis (with exceptions for jewelry or design).
So, for items purchased this year, the rule is done.
For items purchased last year and before, I have an entry in my “pricing strategy” that looks into my last years COGS.
If product Gross Sales Revenue for last year (do not consider the Shipping revenue here) > COGS
I go to Lot price for a specific item I have a bid or I think is too long with no movement, or whatever I find out about the price. Let’s say it is the only price from that lot that’s been sitting there for 2 years and all other had sold.
Given those conditions I consider both last year’s inventory and specific lot paid, so I have room to reduce the price of a single item without “loosing” if I look on the item by item basis.
Please note this does not work if I worked with commodities or large lines of items (something made by me for example with 4-5 variations).
Lot # Title Premium Hammer Lot Cost Unity
219 (13) ASSORTED LENOX BIRD FIGURINES $15.00 $60.00 $75.00 $113.33 $11.33
218 (10) LENOX GARDEN BIRD COLLECTION BIRDS $12.50 $50.00 $62.50 $100.83 $10.08
217 (10) LENOX GARDEN BIRD COLLECTION BIRDS $15.00 $60.00 $75.00 $113.33 $11.33
216 (10) LENOX GARDEN BIRD COLLECTION BIRDS $12.50 $50.00 $62.50 $100.83 $10.08
215 (10) LENOX GARDEN BIRD COLLECTION BIRDS $15.00 $60.00 $75.00 $113.33 $11.33
214 (10) LENOX GARDEN BIRD COLLECTION BIRDS $12.50 $50.00 $62.50 $100.83 $10.08
213 (10) LENOX GARDEN BIRD COLLECTION BIRDS $15.00 $60.00 $75.00 $113.33 $11.33
207 EMANUEL SCHARY LITHOGRAPH – HIGH HOLIDAYS $5.00 $20.00 $25.00 $63.33 $63.33
202 (6) HUMMEL FIGURES AND (2) PLAQUES $17.50 $70.00 $87.50 $125.83 $20.97
201 (8) HUMMEL FIGURES $17.50 $70.00 $87.50 $125.83 $15.73
190 (2) STAND UP WATCH BAND ADVERT COUNTER CARDS $7.50 $30.00 $37.50 $75.83 $37.91
184 PETER MAX SIGNED OFFSET POSTER, 2001 $15.00 $60.00 $75.00 $113.33 $113.33
182 (15) HO SCALE GENTLY OR UNUSED TRAINS & ACC $10.00 $40.00 $50.00 $88.33 $5.89
181 (4) MID-CENTURY VINTAGE CAST IRON FIGURAL BANKS $12.50 $50.00 $62.50 $100.83 $25.21
179 NISSAN ENGEL OFFSET PRINT – DON QUIXOTE $5.00 $20.00 $25.00 $63.33 $63.33
177 (5) COLLECTIBLE PORCELAIN FIGURINES $31.25 $125.00 $156.25 $194.58 $38.92
176 (4) PIECE TIFFANY & WATERFORD CRYSTAL GROUP $15.00 $60.00 $75.00 $113.33 $28.33
168 (2) MICHAEL ARAM STAINLESS STEEL KIDDUSH CUPS $7.50 $30.00 $37.50 $75.83 $37.91
164 WATERFORD CAPITOL PAPERWEIGHT $5.00 $20.00 $25.00 $63.33 $63.33
161 LLADRO DAISY FIGURINE $15.00 $60.00 $75.00 $113.33 $11.33
123 (3) ROYAL DOULTON FIGURINES $7.50 $30.00 $37.50 $75.83 $25.28
122 (3) ROYAL DOULTON FIGURINES $15.00 $60.00 $75.00 $113.33 $37.78
121 (3) ROYAL DOULTON FIGURINES $12.50 $50.00 $62.50 $100.83 $33.61
81 (4) TIFFANY & CO. STERLING JEWELRIES $37.50 $150.00 $187.50 $225.83 $56.46
$333.75 $1,335.00 $1,668.75 $2,588.57
08/25/2018 at 3:53 pm #47954
If I remember correctly, you purchase industrial lots at auctions, right? Probably not cheap. When we go to auctions these days, it’s not uncommon to drop $1500.
I understand the need to have a cashflow report, but how to you keep track of the profit you make from each lot of items you buy?
Whats more important to me is that know that if we spend $1500 at an auction, we know we made 5-10x our money over a period of time. I dont have a good scientific way to do this now. I just try to keep track informally.
08/26/2018 at 1:54 pm #48000
Yeah, I source a few different ways but that’s one big one. The stuff I buy is pretty small fry as industrial lots go because it’s… basically long tail stuff that nobody else wants. Plus, as a rule it has to be shippable (or at least it has to fit in my hatchback!).
I don’t track returns on auction “hauls” but it wouldn’t be too hard I guess… I sorta get the appeal. OTOH, each purchase decision at auction (as anywhere else) is an independent decision that’s right or wrong. I don’t care too much if I made several mistakes at one particular auction as long as overall my buying decisions are working out OK.
Or do you mean lots in the sense of, say, return on one box lot?
If I buy a box lot of say 5 totally different items, I usually put the whole COGS into the line item for the “best” thing in that box. Sometimes, if a different item sells first, I “move” the COGS into that item so I can claim the whole thing on taxes, as long as it still results in a nominal profit.
If it’s a box lot of 5 identical items I think for tax purposes you gotta just divide the COGS evenly.
Anyway, that’s all irrelevant to cashflow. If I spend $1500 on an auction haul, that counts against the cashflow that week, but it doesn’t show up in COGS at all until something from that haul sells.
COGS is like a narrative of one particular item; cashflow is a snapshot of your business in time.
I suspect you guys didn’t fuss the cashflow too much because you didn’t spend very much on inventory until quite recently! 🙂
08/26/2018 at 5:37 pm #48006
Correct. Unless we go to an auction and spend $1500 on a truckload of treasures, our inventory costs are usually under $100/week. Often under $50. Sometimes even less.
We’re always cashflow positive so I guess I dont worry about that number. But I do like to keep track of the big auction buys and it’s payback. I can see a scenario where it turns out that the profit isnt as much I think it is on a $1500 haul.
08/26/2018 at 5:23 pm #48005
I use the custom field on eBay to track the cost (under subtitle) Today I bought, for example, 115 items for 110 dollars. On the custom field I put .96 cents for each. It’s pretty easy to pull that number each week. If I sell some of them as a lot I just use .96 for each item.
08/19/2018 at 10:56 pm #47718ebaymomParticipant
- Location: Ohio
Loved the story about finding the expensive copier part in the trash!!
Well, let’s get this over with because it is pretty painful… slow week… school started… not enough time to do much listing… sales were way down for me.
My Store Week August 12-18, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1105
Items Sold: 5
Cost of Items Sold: $4
Total Sales: $106.14
Highest Price Sold: $49.95 (Toy Corvette)
Average Price Sold: $21.28
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $35
Number of items listed this week: 14
08/20/2018 at 7:22 am #47721
Well this is a first. Got this email this morning from someone messaging us through Bonanaza….
“May i know if i could resell your products online and dropship it to the customers? This will be a prepay orders before drop shipping it to the the buyers. And also may i know if you have a dealer price?”
Thanks hope to hear from you soon
What the heck?? This is most likely some sort of scam or whatever, but I don’t even know how something like this would even work in the first place.
We don’t sell wholesale or offer anything more than our regular periodic sales or take offers. But what in the world is someone thinking? Would they set up some sort of store then “copy” all of our listings and photos and then try to resell. That would not fly having dups of all of our inventory.
But what this made me think about though, is are there others out there who have copied a legit sellers listings 100%, put them up some where else then is selleing someone else’s inventory and then just buying it as it sells. If the original seller has sold the item, the scamster just refunds his buyer and tells them, Ooops sorry this item is no longer available, or something like that.
There used to be an app called CopyScape I think that for a subscription fee, you could have it scan the whole web and it would find any duplicate, i.e. stolen or copied original text that you had created. I used it a few years ago when I did a few web sites for friends and found a few people were stealing some pages I had created.
So wonder how people like this person who contacted us is doing this type of business model, if it is a business at all?
We are going to completely ignore without any type of response.
08/20/2018 at 9:12 am #47726
Would this really be a scam if you’re getting the money & shipping to a verified address? Essentially it’s the same thing we’re all doing – buying something for $x price, then [hopefully] selling elsewhere for more.
“Drop shipping” is legit. Just means that someone is using you as their sourcer/producer/shipper. I do some hobby photography on the side and sell prints on Etsy. I’m just the photographer, don’t have the equipment to print professional quality prints, so I use a high quality online printer and ship “white label” from them directly to the customer – they don’t put their company, cost of printing, etc on the invoice so the customer thinks they’re getting the print directly from me. No harm, no foul.
08/20/2018 at 10:17 am #47736
Yeah you are right. Drop shipping is legit. I was thinking more along the lines of how they would want to get access to our descriptions, photos, or would they build a store and then link to our store? They will need to show our store items on their own site I would assume, put their pricing on the items which would have to be higher than ours then “showcase” our inventory somehow.
Then there still is the issue of us selling first on Ebay, we cross list on Shopify and Etsy. So they would run a chance of us being “out of stock” so to speak.
Guess I could respond and ask just how they envision such an arrangement to happen.
08/21/2018 at 8:05 am #47784
Mike: Yep, people do it. They scrape all your data (essentially they copy your entire listing) and post it for sale on eBay (or another site) at a slight markup. Then when they get a sale, they have you ship the item to the final customer and they make the money in the middle.
Entire software programs that can do this. Set it and forget it. I watched a couple of videos. Pretty amazing…
08/21/2018 at 6:10 pm #47818
Hey Troy. based on what you guys said, I did go ahead and replied to his email but more with a tone of curiosity and questioning how he thought something like this type of arrangement would work from his view point. I also included 4 or 5 questions. Did that this AM and no response as of yet. May not hear anything, who knows.
mike at MDC Galleries and Fine Art in Atlanta
08/20/2018 at 7:26 am #47723
Haven’t listened yet but it’ll be a busy week so, numbers.
Sales: CAD$2045, 10 items, COGS: $490 –> Item profit: $1250
Expenditures: $1447 –> After tax cashflow: -$32
Hours: 11, -$3/hr
Listings: $4010, 11 listings
Notable sales: drill bit sharpener $115 –> $1215
Scavenging: On Monday there was the great 2018 VOIP phone haul, 150 phones for $150, with a couple conference centre thingies and fancy headsets for good measure. Expect to make about $3000 when all is said and done.
I also bought a huge auction haul which I’m waiting to be mailed to me. 2 pieces of high end testing equipment, and one fancy fishing reel.
OK, Monday commute, time to listen.
08/20/2018 at 8:51 am #47725totommytoParticipant
- Location: Naples, Fl
listening again, cool
8/12 – 8/18/18
eBay store totommyto
Total store items: 602
Number of items sold: 10
eBay sales (not counting s/h): $356.50
Cost of items sold: $24.50
Consignment payouts: $24
Highest price sold: $97 14ct. multiples of space windup toy
Average price sold: $35.65
Money spent on new inventory: $100
Number of items listed this week: 16
Etsy store Oldfleatoymarket
Total store items: 554
Number of items sold: 7
Etsy sales (not counting s/h): $170.80
Cost of items sold: $12.50
Consignment payouts: 0
Highest price sold: $30 – Holland ceramic pumpkin planter 1970’s
Average price sold: $24.40
Money spent on new inventory: $50
Number of items listed this week: 6
08/20/2018 at 9:21 am #47727
Too bad we couldn’t connect while you were here! One of these times you come up, the timing will work and we’ll be able to go out to some sales together.
Week August 12-18, 2018
Total Items in Store: 939
Items Sold: 25 (9 Amazon)
Cost of Items Sold: $344 (30.2% of sales)
Total Sales: $1,137.91
Highest Price Sold: $225 (Chanel slip ons https://www.ebay.com/itm/192439621166)
Average Price Sold: $45.52
Returns: 0 (1 NPB though)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 0
Promoted listings test: 4 sales, $90.49 (8% of total sales), $4.53 fees (5% of sales)
One of my best weeks in months, probably since April/May when I had some great weeks after tax season. Good number of higher dollar items sold (15 over $40, 3 over $100) including a Beatles bootleg record (https://www.ebay.com/itm/202356687850) and a c1986 Walkman (https://www.ebay.com/itm/192624285206), plus some old stock that I thought I’d never sell. But the COGS are an issue for the 3rd straight week. I like to be below 20% COGS (10% is even better), but I guess that comes with the territory of selling higher dollar items.
No picking or listing this week as my regular day job was crazy and then we drove down to Philly for a college friend’s 40th birthday surprise party. It was a great day to catch up with some many people that I rarely get to see anymore – and Sunday was shot being hungover 🙂
- This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by Brian Treasures from Grandmas.
08/20/2018 at 9:22 am #47728ChristineRParticipant
- Location: Southern California
Total Items in Ebay Store: 456
Items Sold: 12
Cost of Items Sold: $375
Total Sales: $892
Highest Price Sold: $322 (3 piece bedding set, paid $199 on sale Set )
Average Price Sold: $74
Returns: 0, but one loss of $28 buyer claimed new item sent with bottom chip and I replaced no charge.
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $478 (Loaded up on more clearance bedding sold above, plus one thrift reopening sale of vintage items)
Number of items listed this week: 20
Mercari update: cross posted 3 kids book lots, sold a death pile Disney mug overnight and my daughter’s jacket for $40 profit. Word on Facebook is stale listings don’t move on Mercari and they pump up new seller’s listings. So strong start, and then eases off.
Also sold made $30 on Facebook selling less desirable vintage Pyrex lots that I didn’t feel like shipping.
Nice sales on Ebay and a couple of customer service issues, which I almost never get. I had my first truly nutty and mildly abusive buyer. But, moving on. I don’t have many problems so I’m ok just throwing small $ at something to make it go away. Hopefully I’ll escape without any negative feedback and keep my 100%.
Glad you enjoyed your trip to NYC and are excited about your new project. My kitchen contractor is great and I told him I admire him for calmly solving any issues that crop up. He said that’s what the job is – pretty much solving problems. So kudos for you for being able to deal! That’s not for me. Great prices at West Elm. You had good timing for RA brick and mortar picking though I feel like the summer sales aren’t quite as generous as they used to be a year or two ago. All the same, it feels SO good to get nice quality at Walmart prices. Have a great week!
08/20/2018 at 10:21 am #47737SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
Week of Aug 12 – 18
* Total Items in Store: 1219
* Items Sold: 15
* Cost of Items Sold: $39.49 + $28.90 Commission
* Total Sales: $329.96
* Highest Price Sold: $49 Brass Beer Tower
* Average Price Sold: $22
* Returns: 0
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $28.75
* Number of items listed this week: 14
Decent week with the number of items sold, but most were lower value.
I will be spending a few days this week helping a friend set up an online auction, so I’m not sure how much listing I will be able to do. I will get paid something for the work I’m doing, and I will be able to sell some of my own stuff, so it’s all good.
08/20/2018 at 11:24 am #47740
08/20/2018 at 11:56 am #47741SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Hi R&J — Thanks for the podcast. It’s great that you guys continue to put out podcasts even when you’re on vacation. I’m sure I’m not the only one that really appreciates it.
After having my best week of the year, followed by my worst week of the year, this week was back to normal for this time of the year. No high value sales this week:
Total Items in Store: 2486
Items Sold: 36
Total Sales: $778
Cost of Items Sold: $82
Average Price Sold: $21.62
Average Cost of Item: $2.3
Highest Price Item Sold: $59.95 Texas Instruments Ti-84 Plus Graphing Calculator
Number of items listed this week: 68
YTD Sales: $28589
YTD sales compared to this time last year: +18%
Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 316
Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 197
Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 92
Sell-through rate (for the week): 1.45%
# of Hats Sold: 25 (69% of sales)
Jay – you mentioned PayPal 1099s on the show. Everyone gets the 1099 when they hit the 200 transaction / $20,000 limit but recently people who live in MA and VT get them when they hit $600. (Regardless, people should be reporting their income whether or not they get a 1099).
Hope everyone has a good week!
08/20/2018 at 12:09 pm #47742
Items in Store 1105
Items Sold 15
Total Sales $538.26
Total Profit $497.15
Average profit $33.14
Average sales price $35.88
Bought a truck this week…again. Got a heck of a deal on a 2012 Silverado. First thing I did was end up at Elder Beerman again to check in on their store closing liquidation again. They had put out more mannequins they didn’t have before at even steeper markdowns. I bought 8 more. I will sell off most of them I have.
I also bought two tables that I have been eyeballing since they started selling fixtures. These tables are a metal frame with 3 laminated levels of shelving/tabletop. They are SUPER nice and VERY large. I can store 10 tubs of inventory (+ a few loose items) below the work surface. I’ll take a photo and upload sometime this week if I get a chance. I have one of them set up so far.
I didn’t yard sale this weekend since the weather wasn’t great. Still got a lot of shoes from thrift stores. At one a lady had donated 9 pair of the high end Asics and Brooks Shoes. The Goodwill priced them at $10 a pair. I HATE paying that much for shoes but all of these shoes were only worn a few times each – barely any wear at all. When I got to the register the cashier said they had all the boxes for them all in the back. I HAPPILY took the boxes too. So minimal wear and original box included. The receipts were in all the boxes too – this lady paid an average of $140-150 each pair. I’ll do very well on this lot of shoes, even at $10 COGS.
Have a great week everyone.
08/21/2018 at 11:11 am #47798pythoneskParticipant
- Location: East TN
What’s the deal with old Asics running shoes? Are people collecting them, or is it a fashion trend?
08/21/2018 at 11:48 am #47799InglewoodParticipant
People are collecting them – the “shoe heads” are starting to expand past the huge Nike/Adidas collectors into the more niche brands that are more affordable. Essentially, any old running shoe with a name on it is starting to be collectable.
I saw on our local news a “Brooks” collector, and he was going on about the different eras of the Brooks running shoes and how they have gone high-end for the last few years but now signed a deal with Walmart. Couldn’t believe that someone cared that much about the brand!
08/21/2018 at 3:59 pm #47812
They’re a Japanese brand. Running shoe collectors appreciate their exacting quality:
08/22/2018 at 7:23 am #47843
My assumption is that they are wearing them. A lot of people like the feel of running shoes just for everyday wear. These shoes are over $100 new. The casual wearers who don’t plan on logging 20 miles a day running are happy to pay $40 for a lightly used pair.
Nike is no longer the “cool” shoe it seems to me. Brooks, Asics, Adidas, even Under Armour are the “in” shoes right now. Sales of my Nike shoes are pretty slow as well.
08/20/2018 at 12:12 pm #47743SilverFoxFindsParticipant
- Location: Virginia Beach
Quiet over here for the past two weeks – traveling for work the first week (thankfully some other income, since eBay #s are low), then visiting with family on “vacation” the second week. Definitely not enough of sleeping in and reading away the afternoons that I would have liked to have done on vacation-vacation….alas.
Last week is perhaps my worst ever, numbers-wise. It’s August. It is what it is.
08/12/18 – 08/18/18
Total Items In Store: 893
Items Sold: 7
Total Sales: $153.14
Cost of Items Sold: $15.00
Highest Price Sold: $60 – Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Master Deck of Encounters Set 1
Average Price Sold: $21.88
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $90.02
Number of Items listed this week: 0 (vacation)
Did hit up 5 estate sales immediately upon returning home, but I can’t say that I scored any amazing deals, just hopefully some good returns on slightly higher prices paid. Still have plenty of piles to work from. And now, back to listing, listing, listing…
Happy week, All.
08/20/2018 at 1:27 pm #47748almastyParticipant
Items in Store: 125
Items Sold: 5
Total Sales: $240
Average Price Sold: $48
I’m starting to get more serious about my “everything else, random” store. The niche store is on auto-pilot, so my experiments with selling online are now going into the 2nd store. It was hovering around 50-75 items for the longest time, but I have been working the past few months to get it over 100 items.
Since my 2nd store is just random stuff like the type of stuff people normally post here, I don’t have the space to store a ton of odd-sized, weird items. As it is now, I am having trouble finding places to store what I list. Space I cleared out for items from my niche store is now being used to hold stuff for store #2.
I’m happy with the results of the 2nd store, especially since it is just a basic store. It is paying for itself, and is worth having to keep items separated from the niche.
I find it helps keep me motivated to go out looking for stuff for either store now. If I don’t find something good in my niche, I can look for the 2nd store. I don’t have to walk out of somewhere empty-handed because it didn’t fall into a narrowly-defined window of what I consider appropriate to list.
08/20/2018 at 2:09 pm #47749MMVIParticipant
- Location: Michigan
8/13/18 – 8/19/18
Total Items in Store: 1,060
Items Sold: 21
Cost of Items Sold: $47
Total Sales: $900.22 (not including shipping)
Highest Price Sold: $151 (Trucker Hat)
Average Price Sold: $42.86
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $5.50
Number of items listed this week: 140
Numbers are right where I would expect based on my inventory, so no worries there.
Another week where I felt I needed to choose between listing and finding inventory and I switched it up and got to listing again.
I was able to get about half of the high dollar items listed that I purchased at last week’s auction. But I still have a significant “to be listed” pile so that cushioned the blow of missing out on the auctions this week.
I have been handed a lot of extra responsibilities at the day job, which is cramping my eBay style. I’m hoping for that to settle back down soon, but in the mean time, I will take it as a challenge and keep on hitting goals.
After a handful of months listening to the podcast (including most of the back episodes) I am impressed with J&R’s consistency. It is not an easy task to run multiple successful businesses for the length of time you both have. It speaks to the power of doing the right things over and over again, and what can be accomplished with intelligent, consistent work.
08/20/2018 at 2:36 pm #47750DoublythumbsParticipant
- Location: Hopedale, OH
Aug 12 – 18
Total Items in Store: 1684
Items Sold: 15
Total Sales : $448
* below yearly average of $765
* above 2017 total week sales of $111
Highest Price: $65 (Set of Keuffel Esser Co. Lettering Pen Points)
Average Price: $30
Cost of Goods Sold: $28
Costs of Goods Purchased this Week: $20
Number of New Items Listed this Week: 63
Ugh, bad week for me! I had a couple of days where I didn’t sell a single thing. Things quickened up on Saturday, but too little too late really. I also went to an auction on Saturday and only bought one thing to resell. Lame! It was an estate auction, but I think the family members picked out everything that had any value for themselves before the auction.
I did manage to have an awesome week of listing. 63 new items…not bad! At this rate, I’ll definitely be at 2K listings by the end of the year.
08/20/2018 at 7:22 pm #47762Julie BParticipant
- Location: Georgia
8/12 – 8/18
Store was set to vacation for most of the week with extended handling time. I’m on jury duty this week so I’m not adjusting my handling time back. It will probably remain on for awhile as I am commuting a lot into Atlanta to train my job replacement. It’s a 5 hour round trip on a good day – barf. At least the jury duty is local.
Total Items In Store: 909
Items Sold: 11
Total Sales: $313.93
Cost of Items Sold: $67.83
Average Price Sold: $28.54
Highest Price Sold: $64.99 – Disney Hollywood Studios Starbucks You are Here Mug – Bought for $1.51. Lucked out, it was a first edition. Sold within a few days of listing.
Item I was most happy to see go: A “bacon is the duct tape of the kitchen” wooden sign my husband bought during one of his only trips to a thrift store. He bought it for $3 and wanted me to “flip” it for him. Didn’t have the heart to tell him it wouldn’t go for much (mass produced Chinese garbage). After at least 18 months, it finally sold for $15.99 w/ free shipping.
08/20/2018 at 9:07 pm #47769MoCoyotesParticipant
- Location: St. Louis
Total Items in Store: 2594
Items Sold: 24
Cost of Items Sold: $20.95
Total Sales: $773
Highest Price Sold: $56.75 (Vintage Reeboks)
Average Price Sold: $32.20
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $34.50
Number of items listed this week: 38
Slower week. I’ve been doing some side work lately so not listing enough. Conditions weren’t favorable for higher sales this past week, perhaps the coming week will be better!
08/21/2018 at 12:13 am #47779
On the road all week so have changed my handling time for 5 days, hope it does not low sales too much. Transactions slowed last week for me, couple good sales made week decent.
8/12/18 – 8/19/18
Total items in store (beginning of week): 324
Items sold: 7
30 day sell through rate: 9.26%
Total Sales: (no shipping): 373.49
Average price: $53.36
Cost of items sold: $110.49
Gross profit: $263.00
Highest item sold / best sale: PACMIN AIRBUS (2005) 1/100 A380 EA ENGINES Model Airplane w Original Box sold 285.00, Paid 50.00
New items listed: 10
08/21/2018 at 3:21 pm #47807Steven SParticipant
- Location: South Dakota
Don’t sweat it, I went on vacation last week with extended handling time and sold more than the previous week when I was listing 8-10 items a day.
08/25/2018 at 10:53 pm #47969
10 sales this week versus 7 last week – pretty cool. I could totally get used to shipping once a week : )
08/21/2018 at 8:13 am #47786
Week of 8/5-8/18
Total Items in Store: 2,541 (Up 57% YOY)
Number of Items Listed: 118
Number of Items Sold: 66 (Down 22% YOY)
(Includes 1 Etsy, 0 Bonanza, 0 TrueGether)
Weekly STR: 11% (Down 11% YOY)
Total Product Sales: $1,738 (Down 6% YOY)
Cost of Items Sold: $299
Highest Item Sold: $125 – Vtg 2 Tier Hand Carved Tiki Pineapple Wood Lazy Susan Serving Tray
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Veronica wins the week (again) and Veronica leads for the year 20-13
# Listed: 1,661
# Sold: 55
# Listed: 364
# Sold: 6
eBay Hard Goods
# Listed: 516
# Sold: 4
Etsy Hard Goods
# Listed: 153
# Sold: 1
Business Improvement for the Week – Begin Cross-Posting to Poshmark. Yep…still not getting this done! Sheesh…
Been a cooling off week sales-wise, but I know we will be in the upswing for Q4 soon. Been busy on non-work items lately, mostly hiking. Did a 14.5 mile, 4,500 Elevation Gain hike on Sunday with a 39 lb pack in just under 9 hours. Still training for the Colorado Trail next summer. Now Veronica and some friends moved me to complete the first 5 sections of the CT in a couple of weeks. I have 4 days to get it done, just over 71 miles. Gotta get cracking!
08/21/2018 at 2:37 pm #47804retiredtreasures719Participant
- Location: Troy, Ohio
After all the advice from all of you last week, I spent a lot of time ending low priced listings. Then I made a determination whether to get rid of it or bundle it together with like items. I have a large chunk of listings for vintage linens. They sell pretty well, but it’s hard to get more than $7-8 for an average doily. Lots of those getting bundled together. Still thinking about using those 500 free auction listings, I listed a few things at .99 cents or $1.99. If they sell great, if not off they go to the garage sale pile. Lucky I have a friend who does multiple garage sales throughout the summer. I did have a pair of plastic cookie cutters I started at 99 cents that ended up selling for $8.50. The buyer also ended up buying some others I had listed so a decent sale. More tweaking planned this week. So far this week I have had as many sales as of this posting as I had all last week. Hoping the momentum keeps up, but things seem to dwindle down towards the end of the week.
Total sales. $149.09
# sold. 12
Avg. sale. $12.42
$ spent on new. $11
# listed. 33
Highest sales: $35 on vtg Japanese figures (still selling my parents stuff) and $29.99 Oral B Sonic Toothbrush ($1 at a garage sale!)
08/21/2018 at 10:03 pm #47834jimiParticipant
- Location: Delaware
08/12/18 – 08/18/18
Total Items in Store: 1512
Items Sold: 22
Cost of Items Sold: $56.98
Total Sales: $733.16
Highest Price Sold: $116 (Thule bike rack parts)
Average Price Sold: $33.33
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $199.64
Number of items listed this week: 42
Not a bad sales week for me and I have been busy sourcing and organizing for fall/winter. I am a little behind on scavenger life blog and comments but have been keeping up to the podcasts, which are always informative and entertaining. Wishing everyone a good week of sales and scavenging. The summer days are going fast.
08/22/2018 at 7:27 am #47844
The expiring drafts issue has been around for a while. Don’t let them sit or you will lose them!
I don’t think I’ve hit a limit on how many drafts I can have, but only a certain amount will show up in the app if you take photos in the app. If your item you want to list doesn’t show in the app, you need to open the draft on the desktop site and save it again. That will bump it to the top of the list and let it show in the app.
08/22/2018 at 8:52 am #47846
Big expense this week was 3 Rolling shelves 60″ x 24″ x 72″. Almost $600 for the three, but will give me a ton of portable space.
8/12 – 8/18
Total Items in Store: 1024 (Listings) 1194 (Qty)
Items Sold: 33
Cost of Items Sold: $131.67
Total Sales: $1,458.45
Highest Price Sold: $179.99 (sealed board game)
Average Price Sold: $44.20
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $243.53
Number of items listed this week: A lot!
08/22/2018 at 9:41 am #47850
BourbonTrailBazaar: Very solid Sales and ASP numbers, especially on a 10x model. Very well done!
08/22/2018 at 3:36 pm #47860
Diversifying, staying motivated, meeting your passion and making “passive” money
Loved this article, a lot to do with latest podcasts
Transcription for those who prefer:
This story is Arianna O’Dell’s, a 28-year-old founder of a PR and marketing agency in New York City, as told to Marianne Hayes.
I’ve always been a fan of quirky, one-of-a-kind gifts. But when I started making and selling them online on Etsy two years ago as a creative outlet, I never imagined my hobby would blossom into a reliable stream of passive income. And yet, so far, I’ve earned about $30,000 on top of my 9-to-5 income. I’m still learning as I go, but here are a few valuable pearls of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way.
1. Follow your passion projects.
I love a good pun and have learned that products with silly word play paired with cute illustrations make for crowd-pleasing gifts. (Think: a coffee mug that reads Livin’ la vida mocha.) Years ago, I started ordering custom items for family and friends, and, by the end of 2016, had a few extra lying around—so I figured I’d try selling them. I listed a mug on Etsy for $15, and was surprised to see it sell quickly. I didn’t net much, but something told me I’d stumbled upon a worthwhile side hustle.
The key, I’ve learned over the last two years, is that I’m working on something I think is fun. When you’re motivated by more than the bottom line, you’ll be more likely to go the extra mile without burning out.
2. Outsource tasks you can’t do (or hate).
Soon after opening my Etsy store, I started researching cost-effective ways to produce other punny items I couldn’t easily make by hand. That’s how I discovered print-on-demand companies that ship on your behalf. It’s an order-as-you-go option that takes a cut of each sale, but using them means my apartment doesn’t have to double as an inventory warehouse.
From there, I found graphic designers (through marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork) who could help bring my ideas to life for $10 to $30 per design. With partners in place, I hit the ground running, creating everything from funny doormats to wine labels.
Whether it’s administrative work, accounting duties or something else, I’ve learned that it’s worth investing in help when it makes sense. This way, you’re free to focus on other areas you like or are better at—and supercharge your business.
3. Understand your costs (really, really well).
Perhaps my most valuable side gig advice was born out of a big mistake: I ended up losing hundreds of dollars my first quarter in business because I forgot to take taxes and Etsy’s seller fees into account—something I wouldn’t have missed had I done a simple break-even analysis from the outset.
I also wish I’d had a better handle on my pricing. At first, I sold mugs for $16.99, netting me as little as 50 cents when all was said and done. Now that I better understand margins, I’ve upped my prices to $33.50—a 100-percent markup—and people are still buying.
4. Be intentional with your time.
Surprisingly, I haven’t sacrificed much time to grow my business. After some initial research about how to optimize my Etsy page so it’d appear in people’s Google searches (a slow, but very effective game), I now just work when I have free time—usually about 30 minutes a day.
The key is that I’m careful to spend that time as productively as possible. I typically work on my side business first thing in the morning, before I’m distracted or tired from other work, and complete at least one task, like fulfilling an order or implementing a new marketing tactic.
Related: I Got a 25 Percent Pay Bump After Dumping This Bad Habit
5. Look for ways to optimize or improve your process.
It’s been a slow, but mostly steady ride. (One exception: Holidays are always a boon. My second year in business, I sold more than 300 products and brought in $9,000 in three months alone.) Generally, I’m selling one or two items a day now, earning anywhere from $7 to $30 for each. I’ve also started selling on Amazon and my own site; diversifying where you can discover and purchase my products has earned me an extra $3,000 in sales to date.
Next on my list is learning more about securing licensing deals to get my products into bigger retailers. I’m also slowing down on creating new designs and repurposing old ones instead. If one was really popular on a mug, why not try it on a beach towel? This will help keep my costs low as I look toward the future: My five-year goal is to firm up a long-term pipeline of passive income.
August 1, 2018
08/23/2018 at 5:06 am #47885
Paulo: Love this! Thanks for sharing!
08/23/2018 at 2:32 pm #47890
Thank you!!!!!!! Early in College, my dream was working with recycling. By 2nd year I heard of a newly graduated fellow Engineer (he was Civil though) who was a version of Ryanne/Jay of the time (1982) combined with Schultz. One day I will summarize his case.
Recently I have been researching “alternatives” (so I do not get bored, remember, ADHD). Always loved the idea of extracting precious metals from electronics. Then it came to my mind to melt homer Silver to make bars and keep or sell. The gold recycling yields more per raw material than mining (comparing loads of circuit boards and chips X dirt for example). The silver part will possibly take off, the electronics is cool but it is A HUGE TIME CONSUMING LABOR.
08/23/2018 at 3:20 pm #47893
That has always fascinated me as well, just the huge time suck to get it.
I worked for a scrap recycler at one point…the automation is amazing. Lots of money in that stuff, but a grind and at the whims of the market. Your buyers have to be top notch.
09/17/2018 at 4:58 pm #48841Rydell RelicsParticipant
RR Store Week August 12-18, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1580
Items Sold: 19
Cost of Items Sold: $38.52
Total Sales: $423.43
Highest Price Sold: $60 (vintage quack medical device)
Average Price Sold: $22.29
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 6
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