Saturday, 16 January 2016

eBay listing thoughts, tips and tricks and working from home.

I thought I would do a post about some eBay techniques I have learned over the years.

eBay is a changing landscape and I don't know if you have ever noticed but even the name gets complicated, have you ever noticed that their brand name eBay appears grammatically incorrect?.

Yes well it is, where is the capital letter placed? what is the usual place a capital letter should be?.

Just as the name, eBay challenges me in every way, emotionally, physically and mentally. I know that is one reason why I love ebay. I love the challenge.

You can learn a lot if you are serious about eBay, I have a love/hate relationship with the platform but it has taught me an awful lot about business and also myself.

Their customer service staff are incredible with me, I think they are very underrated and are great mentors, I think they really do not get the recognition they deserve.

I always have great conversations with them discussing strategy and gaining tips on how to improve and get better at the game, and they never complain about hearing me complain, they are more like counsellors to me sometimes, keeping me from going insane, I don't always agree with what they say and I sometimes get upset if things do not go my way but I can usually see the reasoning behind most decisions, if I can't then I usually keep going at them until I do and I always come away feeling that I have learned something new.

To some it can be an unforgiving place to try and trade, to others they just seem to fly, I feel like I am in the middle of the road, mainly due to lack of investable cash flow and my determination to 'be at home' with the twins and wanting to really keep it as a home based business, my feet are stuck to the ground with eBay. ( I hold my self back with my perceived importance of life priority)

I can see my stockroom filling up more and more yet continually changing, I often have the thoughts of 'I really need a lock-up or shop or some kind of storage place other than my house' there would be a few advantages to that but then they are always outweighed with my priorities which are in conflict.

Firstly I would not find stock all over my house and I would not end up trying to clamber over ride on cars blocking my hallway feeling like I have just climbed Ben Nevis just to get to my front door.

Secondly I could store more stock and work more on selling things for other people, at the moment I dread a new client,  not due to not wanting to do the work but due to not having space for their stock,

Thirdly I would not find myself working 24 hours, I could actually get a break and really shut off, but at the moment it is like my house is a constant working environment.

Fourthly I  could employ someone, having someone at my house is an impracticality in itself, there is no room for someone else to work although twice the people could produce twice the output.

There are many other plus's to having a better warehousing system, I could even have proper shelving to store the stock on, I can imagine it now, a long wall full of stock organised properly, looking like IKEA but on a smaller scale...... sorry I went on one then daydreaming..  I am now back in the room...

Lets continue....

So yes there are many advantages to having that warehousing/working space but they are all well and good but my priority is being at home with the kids being able to come and go and have that flexibility in the daytime to do twin things that need to be done for their education and general living.

Yes it is difficult integrating work and education and life into one manageable work/learn/play at home situation, I could very easily just think 'bugger it' sometimes, and separate everything and I could apply for a school place, get a warehouse/office and buy some theatre tickets. 

Thankfully I always deflect those thoughts and resist the urge and temptation to act on those thoughts, apart from the theatre tickets, I do buy a lot of those.

So yes eBay is not an easy option if you are serious about making a living from it, there are all sorts of factors that can make or break an ebay business very easily.

Choosing stock and finding a niche, how to list and using strategies to get your items seen and presenting those items you so desperately want to sell, getting pricing right is one of the most important, customer service skills, having patience and the will to succeed, accounting skills and analysing those accounts effectively to spot where things need to improve, dealing with suppliers and researching new suppliers, each one of the above and lots more I could write chapters and chapters on and I may post some more individual tips and tricks in the future on each one.

Ebay has changing standards constantly with EU laws and the trading and e-commerce requirements constantly moving and improving, the old flea market approach of yesteryear has long since gone and the majority of items sold on ebay now are new items and often imported from china, price competition is fierce and customers expect more for less more now than ever before.

Couriers are another arena in itself when dealing with eBay, I can see definite gaps in the market when it comes to couriers but that is another story.

I have systems in place and natural timetables when it comes to eBay, when those systems and timetables collapse as they sometimes do it can result in all hell breaking loose in this house.

My stockroom is my dining room which is filled to the brim with stock, for an outsider it probably looks like I am developing hoarding tendencies, it is an organised chaotic space, I know where everything is and I can usually pinpoint any particular item within seconds, I had a great tray system which sadly collapsed and died on me just after Xmas, I replaced it with affordable large boxes and quite simply it does not work, it has worked in other areas of the stockroom stock hierarchy, it works far better than the cardboard box storage so it was not lost, it has improved a certain area of my workspace needs, but not in the way I expected, my tray system has to be brought back and as soon as I get the opportunity and spare cash to re-implement it I will.

I will expand on what my tray system is as you are probably thinking what on earth is she going on about, well it is just a system of trays that I also use for keeping the twins work in, this here is the Algot Range from Ikea and it works amazingly well for my listing and storing needs.

This is how my Algot System is used for storing the Twins 'work'... alongside my handy storage cupboard with a blackboard on the front.

(apologies for the poor image quality)

It works for my ebay listings because I list and then bag and number the item that I am selling. Each tray has a certain number of items in so number 1 - 30 would be at the bottom tray  31-60 would be in the next and so on and so forth, so I know exactly which tray houses which item and this can be found quickly within seconds. It is a fantastic system that works quickly and easily and is the best method I have found so far for storing listed items. 

I am lost since my system collapsed on me, although the one I had was a different model to the Algot and a much older version, the one I had for my eBay stock was an old used one that I purchased of eBay and it has been in use at my house for the past 4 years, but sadly it got old and couldn't take the strain anymore. The trays are ok and can be used again so it is only the frames I have to worry about buying.

The new Algot system is fantastic and would work wonders for me not just for storing but it would also work for listing items too, instead of throwing things onto a chair whilst I photograph I could hang them whilst photographing too, with a white wall behind the system would be an improvement even on my old system taking listing and photography into account.

So my box idea that replaced this takes me ages to sift through the piles of bags to find the correctly numbered item is quickly going to be replaced with this new and improved Algot system. 

My picking, packing and listing life will get far less stressful and this chaos of rummaging thorough boxes will be a thing of the past again, I just have to find the cash to get my system back up and running.

All that said it really does show how the small things make a difference in life when you are working from home, my storage system has caused chaos and inconvenience in a massive way, small things like this matter in how things run.

My day always starts with picking and preparing things for the postage labels that have been printed off the previous evening, I then spend some time answering emails, the rest of the day is split between answering emails and research and twins things, the evening is where things usually happen when the twins are in bed, I list and do accounts, my working day usually consists of about 8 or 9 hours split in a day, sometimes more I can do 10-12 easily if I do not self regulate, guaranteed 3 hours in a morning and then from 8pm when the twins are asleep I can work right through until 2am and sometimes later into the early hours.

Those hours are only possible for me because I am single, I have no one in an evening to share my time with so eBay also probably has a massive part in the reason why I never get lonely, I have no time to sit and think 'I am sat here again on my own'... It is a filler of my alone time, a great remedy for loneliness. There is no way I could do eBay to the extent I do if I had a partner, unless they where 'in it' too.

Well this post has ended up being far longer than I anticipated and I am sure I have bored you to death enough with my eBay ramblings so I will leave it here for now and maybe do some more eBay tips and tricks another time....


No comments:

Post a Comment